COVID-19 and risk of acute ischemic stroke in elderly

Dr. Alexis Simpkins head shot
Dr. Alexis Simpkins

A new study published in the journal Neurology analyzing Medicare claims of more than 37,000 patients with COVID-19 and acute ischemic stroke has important clinical implications, according to an accompanying editorial by Alexis Simpkins, M.D., Ph.D., MSCR, FAHA, a clinical assistant professor of neurology in the UF College of Medicine.

Simpkins and co-author Alain Lekoubou, M.D., a neurologist at Penn State University, wrote that the study revealed that the estimated incidence rate ratio, or incident rate between different groups, for acute ischemic stroke in COVID-19 patients was higher among those ages 65 to 74 without a prior history of stroke. The study also reported that incidence of acute ischemic stroke hospitalizations was 10 times as high during the first three days after diagnosis of COVID-19 as during the control period.

“These raise important questions: Should patients aged 65-74 years be treated more preemptively and aggressively to prevent ischemic stroke?” Simpkins and Lekoubou wrote. “What would be the ideal duration of such specific interventions?”

They said major strengths of the study were the inclusion of both inpatient and outpatient cases, inclusion of a large number of patients from minority groups and use of robust statistical methods, and they concluded that well-designed clinical trials were needed to answer the questions raised by the study.

Read the editorial in the journal Neurology.