Senators Urge CDC to Study Connection between COVID-19 and Younger Stroke Patients

May 14, 2020 Updated: May 14, 2020

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the risk of strokes in young adult to middle-aged CCP virus cases.

“Recent news reports have documented an increased prevalence of stroke among younger and middle-aged COVID-19 patients in hospitals and communities across the country. These reports have indicated that—potentially due to blood clots caused by the virus—many COVID19 patients under the age of 50 are suffering from the deadliest type of stroke that impacts movement, speech, and decision-making,” wrote the two lawmakers in a letter (pdf) to Dr. Redfield.

On April 28, NPR’s John Hamilton interviewed Dr. J. Mocco who directs the Cerebrovascular Center at Mount Sinai, N.Y., and asked about his experience with unusual stroke patients linked with COVID-19 infection.

The doctor said they were seeing middle-aged patients, who had none of the usual risk factors for stroke but tested positive for the virus, exhibiting severe stroke symptoms.

“Speaking with the ICU doctors and the pulmonary doctors, they were seeing clots in the lungs. Speaking with the renal doctors and the dialysis doctors, they were seeing clots in the renal arteries causing kidney injury,” said Dr. Mocco.

“These were five patients in their 30s and 40s who did not have the typical risk-factor profile but did have the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” he added.

“We believe it is critical that the CDC evaluate the prevalence of stroke in COVID-19 patients, including the potential link to stroke from the development of blood clots caused by the virus,” the bipartisan pair added.

The lawmakers asked the CDC to provide them with any initial data on this subject if it is available and share any future plans by the department to collect such data.

“With over one million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States as of May 13, even a relatively low prevalence of stroke in this particular patient population could lead to a significant increase in the number of stroke patients in our country,” they added.

They also asked the CDC what plan the Department had to revise materials used to educate citizens on strokes to include coronavirus-related content.

“What steps can the CDC take to educate more Americans about the possible connection to COVID-19 and the increased risk of a stroke, especially among younger and middle-aged populations?” they wrote.

An April article in the National Institute of Health medical journal also showed the connection between stroke and COVID-19 infections.

While most patients with COVID-19 “present with constitutional and respiratory symptoms, some patients present with atypical symptoms including gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or neurological symptoms,” they found 4 patients in their database that had the unusual symptom of strokes.

Their finding was that the infection can cause stroke in some people and “Further studies are urgently needed for a comprehensive understanding of the neurological pathology of COVID-19 and its effects on the nervous system.”