Ischaemic stroke has been described in association with COVID-19. Several pathophysiological mechanisms have been suggested, i.e. prothrombotic state, cardiac injury etc. It was sought to assess the potential association between ischaemic stroke associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and underlying atherosclerotic lesions.
A retrospective analysis of stroke related to large vessel occlusion was conducted amongst patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and underlying mild atherosclerotic disease, between 19 March and 19 April 2020 in six different stroke centers in the Île-de France area, France.
The median age was 52 years, median body mass index was 29.5 kg/m2 . All patients displayed previous vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidemia or body mass index > 25. The delay between the first respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 and stroke was 11.5 days. At baseline, all had tandem occlusions, i.e. intracerebral and extracerebral thrombus assessed with computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Cases displayed a large thrombus in the cervical carotid artery with underlying mild non-stenosing atheroma, after an etiological workup based on angio-computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging and/or cervical echography.
Our study should alert clinicians to scrutinize any new onset of ischaemic stroke during COVID-19 infection, mainly in patients with vascular risk factors or underlying atherosclerotic lesions.