The absence of risk factors for stroke was a medical red flag, alerting us that something was very out of the ordinary.
In five cases, the stroke happened more than a week after the patient experienced typical COVID-19 symptoms of headache, cough and fever, and in one patient before other COVID-19 symptoms appeared.
Five of the six patients had an unusual "Lupus anticoagulant" antibody, which can cause blood clots in otherwise healthy young people but is seldom seen in stroke patients.
At the same time, a report emerged from New York describing five similar patients, all under 50 years old with stroke due to "Large artery occlusions", and high levels of blood-clotting markers.
The patients we saw with stroke and COVID-19 also had a high risk of poor outcome or death.
Another puzzle in the COVID-19 stroke story is that we are seeing far fewer patients with stroke than usual coming to hospital.
If there are fewer strokes, why is this happening? We know that strokes are associated with inflammation and infection, so it is possible that social distancing has reduced infections, thus reducing the number of people having a stroke.
Posted in Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome
Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is an autoimmune disorder related to abnormal clotting of the blood. As a result, stroke, myocardial infarction or even pregnancy complications can occur. It is a syndrome that may affect nearly every system of the human body. Anticoagulants and/or aspirin are essential for preventing complications.