Don't ignore stroke symptoms during coronavirus pandemic


With increasing evidence showing a link between Covid-19 and stroke, it's more important than ever to call 911 if someone shows signs they are having one, experts say.

"Despite a growing connection between Covid-19 and an increased risk of stroke, hospitals across the country continue to experience a decrease in stroke cases," said Dr Richard Klucznik, a stroke surgeon and president of the Society of Neuro Interventional Surgery.

"It's safe to assume the incidence of stroke isn't lessening – likely just the opposite – which suggests that patients are ignoring symptoms and delaying treatment for fear of exposure to the virus," Klucznik said in a society news release.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the United States, with nearly 800 000 people suffering a stroke every year, resulting in 140 000 deaths and many survivors with permanent disabilities.

Taking every precaution

The number of stroke-related deaths will increase in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially if stroke patients continue to delay treatment and reach hospitals too late, Klucznik said.

Dr J. Mocco, a stroke surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said the connection between Covid-19 and stroke is real.

"After an initial drop in stroke cases in the time leading up to surge, the number of stroke patients doubled during the Covid-19 peak and more than half were Covid-19 positive. What's more, these patients were, on average, 15 years younger than typical stroke patients and among the least likely to otherwise have a stroke," Mocco said.

Dr Michael Levitt is a stroke surgeon with UW Medicine in Seattle. "Patients should know that stroke units in hospitals are taking every precaution to protect our patients and our staff from Covid-19 exposure," he said.

"What remains unchanged throughout this pandemic is that we still need to play it safe when it comes to stroke and always call 911. Avoiding or delaying treatment will only lead to more deaths," Levitt said.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

Image credit:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2316 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
48% - 9934 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7685 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 765 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.