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Older stroke sufferers who had a historical past of COVID-19 had been extra prone to develop harmful blood clots within the veins than those that didn’t have the coronavirus-driven illness, a brand new examine from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reveals.
Blood clots that kind in veins, a situation known as venous thromboembolism or VTE, are a standard complication after stroke. Clots can kind in a leg or elsewhere, then might break away and block blood provide to the lungs, inflicting typically deadly pulmonary embolism.
A number of research counsel SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, might improve the chance of VTE amongst individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, mentioned Xin Tong, the brand new examine’s senior researcher and a senior statistician within the CDC’s Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.
However Tong mentioned few research examined the affiliation between COVID-19 and VTE threat amongst individuals with an acute ischemic stroke, the commonest sort of stroke during which a clot in an artery blocks blood movement to the mind. And none had examined this affiliation between VTE and stroke sufferers who’d had delicate signs of COVID-19 that didn’t require hospitalization.
Tong and her co-authors used Medicare knowledge to look at the affiliation between VTE and COVID-19 amongst 235,567 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older. All had been hospitalized with an acute ischemic stroke between April 2020 and November 2021.
Amongst them, 7.8% had a historical past of COVID-19, which required hospitalization for barely greater than half.
VTE was commonest amongst these with a historical past of COVID-19 hospitalization, at 4.4%. Amongst these with COVID-19 that had not required hospitalization, 3.1% had VTE. These with out a historical past of COVID-19 had been least prone to have VTE, at 2.6%.
That translated to a 64% greater threat of VTE amongst stroke sufferers with a historical past of COVID-19 hospitalization, and a 21% greater threat amongst those that’d had COVID-19 however did not must be hospitalized.
The examine shall be offered subsequent week on the American Stroke Affiliation’s Worldwide Stroke Convention. The findings are thought-about preliminary till a full paper is revealed in a peer-reviewed journal.
Researchers additionally discovered that Black stroke sufferers had the very best price of VTE in comparison with different racial and ethnic teams. For instance, 6.3% of Black stroke sufferers who’d beforehand been hospitalized for COVID-19 had VTE. That compares to three.4% and 4.1% of their Hispanic and white counterparts, respectively.
Among the many limitations the researchers acknowledged was they may not determine if the VTE occurred earlier than or throughout the stroke hospitalizations.
Regardless of that, and limits on what will be understood about some racial and ethnic teams due to small numbers of sufferers, the examine offers “a great big-picture overview of what we’re seeing” throughout the nation, mentioned epidemiologist Amelia Okay. Boehme of Columbia College in New York Metropolis.
“We all know that COVID will increase the chance of VTE,” mentioned Boehme, who was not concerned within the analysis. “We all know that ischemic strokes improve the chance of VTE. So the concept that mixed COVID and ischemic stroke would additional improve the chance of VTE is sensible from a medical perspective.”
The examine means that stroke sufferers who’ve had COVID-19 ought to be fastidiously monitored for potential VTE, she mentioned.
The potential causes behind a hyperlink between COVID-19 and an elevated threat of VTE are complicated and never nicely understood, Tong mentioned. Some underlying situations of stroke sufferers can overlap with VTE threat elements, which embrace older age, extended immobility, obesity, and prior VTE or stroke.
A few of those self same elements overlap with threat of extreme COVID-19.
“Additional research are wanted for the probably mechanisms between COVID-19 and elevated threat of VTE,” Tong mentioned. In the meantime, she mentioned, docs ought to pay attention to the affiliation and comply with protocols for early prevention and remedy.
American Heart Association News covers heart and mind well being. Not all views expressed on this story mirror the official place of the American Coronary heart Affiliation. Copyright is owned or held by the American Coronary heart Affiliation, Inc., and all rights are reserved. When you have questions or feedback about this story, please electronic mail [email protected].
By Michael Merschel
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