Stroke in COVID-19 has been reported in critically ill patients globally. Stroke as a singular manifestation of COVID-19 in absence of typical symptoms (fever, cough and dyspnea) is under- recognized.
Comparative study of clinical and laboratory parameters of COVID-19 stroke patients without typical symptoms at onset with stroke cases without COVID-19 infection.
28consecutive stroke patients, eight with coronavirus infection and twenty without COVID-19 admitted to neurology department of a tertiary care centre of North West India between 20 June,2020 and 19 July,2020 were enrolled in this retrospective study.
COVID-19 patients had higher frequency of seizures (4[50%]) vs 2[10%];p= 0.03)and altered mental status(6[75%] vs 6[30%] p= 0.04). Severity of ischemic stroke(NIHSS >20, 3[75 %] vs 2[18%])and mortality(p=0.04)despite comparable vascular risk factors for stroke between the two groups was higher in COVID-19 patients. Three out of four COVID-19 young strokes died. Two females with COVID-19 did not develop any typical symptoms, six males(75%) developed fever with dyspnea after a mean delay of 2.7 days(Standard deviation 1.7) from stroke onset. All six patients who developed fever subsequently expired. Inflammatory markers (neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio;p<0.001and ESR: p<0.001), transaminases(p=0.038) and creatinine (p=0.009) were significantly elevated in COVID-19 patients.
Isolated cerebrovascular involvement can be a presentation of COVID-19.Stroke severity and mortality is higher in COVID-19 with young strokes being no exemption. Development of fever was associated with clinical worsening. COVID-19 pandemic is far from over in India, such atypical presentations need to be recognized early and warrant stringent diagnostic protocols.

© Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 2011.