Mysterious COVID-19 Disease Causing Strokes in People in Their 30s & 40s

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In this April 2, 2020, file photo a nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle. A federal report due out Monday, April 6, finds that three out of four U.S. hospitals surveyed are already treating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Edited by: JV Staff

The deadly coronavirus does not only claim the lives of the elderly and those afflicted with co-morbidities, according to doctors. CNN has reported that the COVID-19 disease is more enigmatic than had been previously thought. It now appears to be causing sudden strokes among those otherwise healthy adults in their 30s and 40s.

The report indicated that evidence has emerged that the COVID-19 infection has the ability to cause odd blood clots that may lead to patients experiencing strokes. Because hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, patients may not be willing to call 911 upon experiencing strange symptoms.

It is not common for people so young to have strokes, especially strokes in the large vessels in the brain, according to the CNN report.

CNN reported that Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and colleagues gave details of five people they treated. All were under the age of 50, and all had either mild symptoms of Covid-19 infection or no symptoms at all.

A stroke in a large blood vessel causes severe damage if it is not removed right away. At least one patient has died, and others are in rehabilitation facilities, intensive care or in the stroke unit. Only one went home but will require intense care, Oxley said, according to the CNN report.

“The average person who has a large vessel stroke is severely impaired,” Oxley said. “It means it a bigger clot. It includes one of the largest arteries in the brain.”

Brain cells die when blood flow is stopped, and the longer it’s blocked, the wider the damage in the brain. Quick treatment is vital. “The most effective treatment for large vessel stroke is clot retrieval, but this must be performed within 6 hours, and sometimes within 24 hours,” Oxley said.

The Washington Post reported that the numbers of those affected are small but nonetheless remarkable because they challenge how doctors understand the virus. Even as it has infected nearly 2.8 million people worldwide and killed about 195,000 as of Friday, its biological mechanisms continue to elude top scientific minds. Once thought to be a pathogen that primarily attacks the lungs, it has turned out to be a much more formidable foe — impacting nearly every major organ system in the body.

“The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,” Oxley told CNN.

“Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid,” he added.

“All tested positive. Two of them delayed calling an ambulance.”

The Washington Post reported that there was one report out of Wuhan, China, that showed that some hospitalized patients had experienced strokes, with many being seriously ill and elderly. But the linkage was considered more of “a clinical hunch by a lot of really smart people,” said Sherry H-Y Chou, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center neurologist and critical care doctor.

Three large U.S. medical centers are preparing to publish data on the stroke phenomenon. There are only a few dozen cases per location, but they provide new insights into what the virus does to our bodies.

The analyses suggest coronavirus patients are mostly experiencing the deadliest type of stroke. Known as large vessel occlusions or LVOs, they can obliterate large parts of the brain responsible for movement, speech and decision-making in one blow because they are in the main blood-supplying arteries.

Many researchers suspect strokes in novel coronavirus patients may be a direct consequence of blood problems that are producing clots all over some people’s bodies.

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