Mount Sinai neurosurgeon warns COVID-19 causing sudden strokes in younger patients

Alan Condon -  

Neurosurgeons at New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System have been dealing with a surge in their typical caseload of strokes, CNN reports.

The novel coronavirus may cause increased clotting in large arteries for some patients, leading to severe stroke, according to Thomas Oxley, MD, PhD, director of innovation strategy for the department of neurosurgery at Mount Sinai.

COVID-19 seems to be causing sudden strokes in adults in their 30s and 40s who are otherwise asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of the virus, according to the Mount Sinai neurosurgery team.

In the past two weeks, the health system recorded a sevenfold increase in the number of sudden stroke cases in young patients.

"For comparison, our service, over the previous 12 months, has treated on average 0.73 patients every 2 weeks under the age of 50 years with large vessel stroke," the Mount Sinai team wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, according to CNN.

At least one of the patients has died, and another was discharged but requires intensive care.

Dr. Oxley cautioned that individuals who suspect they contracted the virus should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, as well as those of stroke, including face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.

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