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COVID-19’s Effect on Patients with Hemorrhagic Strokes


According to the U Health article “COVID-19 in Combination with Hemorrhagic Stroke Doubles Death Risk,” recent studies suggest that COVID-19 increases the risk of ischemic strokes; however, less is known about the relation COVID-19 has with hemorrhagic strokes.

The American Stroke Association reports that hemorrhagic strokes make up about 13% of stroke cases and are caused by “a weakened vessel that ruptured and bleeds into the surrounding brain,” compressing the surrounding brain tissue.

The senior author of a recent nationwide study—our own Dr. Adam de Havenon—analyzed patients with both COVID-19 and one of two types of hemorrhagic strokes (subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage).

The Findings

Compared to the 5,029 patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage without COVID-19, the 212 patients with both COVID-19 and subarachnoid hemorrhage had a high percentage of in-hospital death (43% vs. 15%).
Furthermore, the 599 patients with both COVID-19 and intracerebral hemorrhage, compared to 23,378 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage without COVID-19, had a higher in-hospital death rate: 48% vs. 18%.
“Patients also had longer hospital stays (21 days vs. 10 days); had longer intensive care unit stays (16 days vs. 6 days); were more likely to be intubated, have acute coronary syndrome, acute kidney failure, or pulmonary embolisms; and had less favorable discharge outcomes than those who did not have both conditions (approximately 25% vs. 50%).

Additionally, “racial and ethnic minorities and those who were obese or had diabetes were among the most vulnerable.”

What We Can Do

We can do our part in taking preventative measures against the deadly combination of hemorrhagic stroke and COVID-19 by taking simple steps to lower our blood pressure, control our cholesterol, and improve our overall health. Some examples of lifestyle changes you could make are

  • getting your COVID vaccines,
  • reducing salt in your diet,
  • avoiding foods high in saturated fats,
  • getting more exercise,
  • quitting smoking (if you smoke),
  • avoiding drinking alcohol—or at least starting to drink in moderation, and
  • reading the full article here.