Corona infection promotes brain infarctions
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than a million people have died worldwide after being infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 since the onset of the corona pandemic. More than 33 million infections (as of 09/29/2020) have been detected. Experts report that anyone suffering from the COVID-19 disease caused by the pathogen also has a higher risk of stroke.
As a result, anyone who becomes ill with the new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 often has an increased risk of stroke – this is demonstrated by current scientific findings. (Image: thodonal / stock.adobe.com)
The number of infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continues to rise sharply. Not all people infected with the new pathogen show symptoms. Some infected people have only mild symptoms, but others have severe illness. In addition, there has long been evidence that the virus can also increase the risk of other diseases, including stroke.
The blood coagulation system can be activated
As the German Stroke Society (DSG) explains in a current press release, as with all infections, the risk of stroke is increased during illness with the coronavirus, and stroke is not uncommon, especially in critically ill patients.
“Especially when there are risk factors such as obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure, strokes can also occur more frequently in young patients with SARS-CoV-2”, explains Professor Dr . med. Wolf-Rüdiger Schäbitz, spokesperson for the DSG press.
Like other inflammations, the new coronavirus can activate the blood clotting system, which increases the risk of thrombosis and embolism. If small blood clots get into the brain, they can reduce blood flow and cause a stroke.
“Additionally, SARS-COV-2 patients with a disability due to a previous stroke have a more severe disease course than previously healthy people. Like the immunocompromised, they therefore belong to a risk group particularly exposed to SARS-CoV-2 ”, explains Professor Dr. Helmuth Steinmetz, 1st President of the DSG.
Effects on the supply situation
With Germany coping well with the first wave of the pandemic, the direct consequences of strokes triggered by SARS-CoV-2 are manageable in this country. “But during the peak of the pandemic in March and April 2020, there was a significant impact on the supply situation in many hospitals,” says Schäbitz, neurologist at Bethel Evangelical Hospital. Because beds have been made available for the treatment of people with COVID-19, beds have been reduced in around 30% of German stroke units.
Recordings on stroke units also decreased: 20% of stroke units recorded decreases of more than 30%, more than half of 10 to 30% and other units of stroke less than 10% .
According to the DSG, a current analysis of strokes acquired in German emergency rooms confirms this trend. “Especially in the high phase of the first wave of the epidemic – from mid-March to mid-April – fewer patients with suspected stroke were admitted to the emergency room,” Schäbitz said.
Often no help is needed
As a result, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, there was a significant collateral impact on the healthcare system, which also affected stroke patients. Especially for those who have a mild or temporary stroke, a so-called TIA (transient ischemic attack), medical help was apparently often not used for fear of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“This fear is unfounded,” says Steinmetz, an expert at DSG. “In clinics in particular, the handling of pathogens – and of course the Corona virus – is organized in an extremely professional manner.”
The DSG therefore urgently recommends that you always take the signs of a stroke seriously, even during a corona pandemic, to dial 112 and immediately seek emergency medical treatment in a clinic with a stroke unit. The president of the DSG warns: “Any waste of time carries much higher risks than those of an infection with COVID-19 in a hospital.” (Ad)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
German Stroke Society (DSG): DSG experts advise: Corona infection – then a stroke ?! Why the virus promotes cerebral infarctions, (accessed 29.09.2020), German Stroke Society (DSG)
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.