Doctors warn 30-50 year-olds of COVID-19 stroke risk

Doctors warn about stroke risk for coronavirus patients between 30 and 50

Doctors in New York are seeing patients in their 30s and 40s, with barely any COVID-19 symptoms, suffering strokes.

“This is new, this is something that has us on alarm. This is very very rare,” said Dr. David Agus, at Peck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California."

This virus is causing blood clots and we classically see more blood clots in elderly individuals -- clots in the leg that can go to the lung, clots in the heart that can go to the brain. But we’re seeing it in 30, 40 and 50 -year-olds and many times in people who are not that symptomatic with the virus."

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At New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital Cardiologist Dr. Samin Sharma says the abnormal clotting can be widespread in coronavirus patients.

"Clotting in the heart, clotting in the lungs, clotting in the kidneys, and clotting in the brain arteries," said Dr. Samin Sharma.

Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and his colleagues had five patients under 50 with mild symptoms of COVID-19, or none at all, who suffered severe strokes.

“The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,” Oxley told CNN.

"Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of COVID," he added.

KIRO-TV checked with UW Medicine to see if they have had seen COVID-19 patients in their 30s, 40s, 50s suffer strokes, so far they have not.

Swedish Hospital says its stroke rate is down and doctors have not seen a link between the virus and strokes locally.

All doctors acknowledge this is new territory.

“That is an absolutely new frontier. We don’t even know what will be the other atypical and unusual presentation of COVID-19,” said Sharma.

“I don’t want everybody thinking they have this, but if you do have any symptoms what it means is go right away to the emergency room. The earlier we treat, the better the outcome,” said Agus.

Hospitals have reported people seem to be staying away longer, before seeking treatment for strokes or heart attacks, for fear they could contract coronavirus.

Doctors want to make sure people seek medical attention if they have stroke symptoms which include trouble speaking, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, problems seeing or headache.

People walk by the emergency entrance to Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic
People walk by the emergency entrance to Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)