Cerebrovascular Accident and SARS-CoV-19 (COVID-19): A Systematic Review.


West Florida


Medical Center of Trinity

Document Type


Publication Date



sars-cov-2, coronavirus infections, COVID-19, cerebrovascular attack, stroke


Cardiovascular Diseases | Internal Medicine | Nervous System Diseases | Virus Diseases


BACKGROUND: While the most common neurologic symptoms reported in patients affected by SARS-CoV-2 are headache, dizziness, myalgia, mental fog, and anosmia, there is a growing basis of published peer-reviewed cases reporting stroke in the setting of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The peer-reviewed literature suggests an increased risk of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) in the setting of COVID-19 infection.

METHODS: We searched 3 databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, and CINAHL) with search terms COVID-19, novel coronavirus, stroke, and cerebrovascular accident. Case series and case studies presenting patients positive for both COVID-19 and CVA published from January 1 through September 1, 2020, were included. Data collection and analysis was completed and risk of bias assessed.

RESULTS: The search identified 28 studies across 7 counties comprising 73 patients. Amongst patients hospitalized for COVID-19 infection and CVA, the average age was 60; the most common preexisting conditions were hypertension and diabetes mellitus, and those without preexisting conditions were significantly younger with an average age of 47. Amongst hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and CVA, there was a bimodal association with COVID-19 infection severity with majority of patients classified with mild or critical COVID-19 infection.

DISCUSSION: The data suggest SARS-CoV-2 is a risk factor for developing stroke, particularly in patients with hypertension and diabetes. Furthermore, the younger average age of stroke in patients with SARS-CoV-2, particularly those patients with zero identifiable preexisting conditions, creates high suspicion that SARS-CoV-2 is an independent risk factor for development of stroke; however, this cannot yet be proven without comparable control population. The data suggest the risk of developing CVA in the setting of COVID-19 infection is not dependent upon severity of illness. Continued studies must be done to understand the epidemiologic factors of COVID-19 infection and stroke and the pathophysiology of the COVID-associated hypercoagulable state.

Publisher or Conference

European Neurology