Ischemic Stroke – Before vs During COVID-19

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

In a study published in JAMA Network Open, the question raised was “what were the hospital discharge rates, demographic factors, and outcomes of hospitalization associated with COVID-19 pandemic among U.S. patients with ischemic stroke (IS) in 2020?”

After the emergence of COVID-19, studies reported a decrease in hospital encounters among patients with ischemic stroke (IS). This decrease was contrary to the expectation that rates for IS would remain stable or increase because of viral infections, including COVID-19, are factors associated with thromboembolic events.

In this study, after an initial decrease in IS hospitalizations during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, hospitalizations returned to pre-pandemic levels by July 2020 and stayed at those levels for the remainder of 2020. The reduction in hospitalizations for IS at the beginning of the pandemic may have been associated with patients not seeking medical care due to fear of acquiring COVID-19. An increase in hospital discharges in the later months of 2020 may have been associated with awareness efforts and/or an easing of public fears regarding hospital care.

Characteristics and Outcomes Among US Patients Hospitalized for Ischemic Stroke Before vs During the COVID-19 Pandemic May 17, 2021

Another reason all of us should be aware, get vaccinated and encourage wellness checks with our primary care providers. Ischemic strokes are not something to take lightly and it is concerning that there may be people out there with long-term disabilities due to a lack of follow-up care. Stay well and stay tuned!