BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 related inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and coagulopathy may increase the bleeding risk and lower efficacy of revascularization treatments in patients with acute ischemic stroke. We aimed to evaluate the safety and outcomes of revascularization treatments in patients with acute ischemic stroke and COVID-19. METHODS: Retrospective multicenter cohort study of consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke receiving intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) and/or endovascular treatment (EVT) between March 2020 and June 2021, tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection. With a doubly-robust model combining propensity score weighting and multivariate regression, we studied the association of COVID-19 with intracranial bleeding complications and clinical outcomes. Subgroup analyses were performed according to treatment groups (IVT-only and EVT). RESULTS: Of a total of 15128 included patients from 105 centers, 853 (5.6%) were diagnosed with COVID-19. 5848 (38.7%) patients received IVT-only, and 9280 (61.3%) EVT (with or without IVT). Patients with COVID-19 had a higher rate of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (SICH) (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.53; 95% CI 1.16-2.01), symptomatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SSAH) (OR 1.80; 95% CI 1.20-2.69), SICH and/or SSAH combined (OR 1.56; 95% CI 1.23-1.99), 24-hour (OR 2.47; 95% CI 1.58-3.86) and 3-month mortality (OR 1.88; 95% CI 1.52-2.33).COVID-19 patients also had an unfavorable shift in the distribution of the modified Rankin score at 3 months (OR 1.42; 95% CI 1.26-1.60). DISCUSSION: Patients with acute ischemic stroke and COVID-19 showed higher rates of intracranial bleeding complications and worse clinical outcomes after revascularization treatments than contemporaneous non-COVID-19 treated patients. Current available data does not allow direct conclusions to be drawn on the effectiveness of revascularization treatments in COVID-19 patients, or to establish different treatment recommendations in this subgroup of patients with ischemic stroke. Our findings can be taken into consideration for treatment decisions, patient monitoring and establishing prognosis.
BACKGROUND: Most case series of patients with ischemic stroke (IS) and COVID-19 are limited to selected centers or lack 3-month outcomes. The aim of this study was to describe the frequency, clinical and radiological features, and 3-month outcomes of patients with IS and COVID-19 in a nationwide stroke registry. METHODS: From the Swiss Stroke Registry (SSR), we included all consecutive IS patients ≥18 years admitted to Swiss Stroke Centers or Stroke Units during the first wave of COVID-19 (25 February to 8 June 2020). We compared baseline features, etiology, and 3-month outcome of SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction-positive (PCR+) IS patients to SARS-CoV-2 PCR- and/or asymptomatic non-tested IS patients. RESULTS: Of the 2341 IS patients registered in the SSR during the study period, 36 (1.5%) had confirmed COVID-19 infection, of which 33 were within 1 month before or after stroke onset. In multivariate analysis, COVID+ patients had more lesions in multiple vascular territories (OR 2.35, 95% CI 1.08-5.14, p = 0.032) and fewer cryptogenic strokes (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14-0.99, p = 0.049). COVID-19 was judged the likely principal cause of stroke in 8 patients (24%), a contributing/triggering factor in 12 (36%), and likely not contributing to stroke in 13 patients (40%). There was a strong trend towards worse functional outcome in COVID+ patients after propensity score (PS) adjustment for age, stroke severity, and revascularization treatments (PS-adjusted common OR for shift towards higher modified Rankin Scale (mRS) = 1.85, 95% CI 0.96-3.58, p = 0.07). CONCLUSIONS: In this nationwide analysis of consecutive ischemic strokes, concomitant COVID-19 was relatively rare. COVID+ patients more often had multi-territory stroke and less often cryptogenic stroke, and their 3-month functional outcome tended to be worse.