Saturday, April 25, 2020

Healthy people in their 30s and 40s, barely sick with COVID-19, are dying from strokes

Many researchers suspect strokes in novel coronavirus patients may be a direct consequence of blood problems that are producing clots all over some people's bodies.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

Thomas Oxley wasn’t even on call the day he received the page to come into Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. There weren’t enough doctors to treat all the emergency stroke patients, and he was needed in the operating room.

The patient’s chart appeared unremarkable at first glance. He was male, no medications, no history of chronic conditions. He had been feeling fine, hanging out at home during the lockdown like the rest of America, when suddenly, he had trouble talking and moving the right side of his body. Imaging showed a large blockage on the left side of his head.

Oxley gasped when he got to the patient’s age and COVID-19 status: 44, positive.

The man was among several recent stroke patients in their 30s to 40s who were all infected with the virus. The median age for that type of severe stroke is 74.

As Oxley, an interventional neurologist, began the procedure to remove the clot, he observed something he had never seen before. On the monitors, the brain typically shows up as a tangle of black squiggles – “like a can of spaghetti,” he said – that provide a map of blood vessels. A clot shows up as a blank spot. As he used a needlelike device to pull out the clot, he saw new clots forming in real time around it.  Read more >>