Published date
Thursday, 30 April, 2020

Updated: Tuesday, 19 May, 2020

The Stroke Association, health and social care professionals, and researchers are continuing to deliver stroke services and study coronavirus and stroke.

There are reports in the news that make it look like the coronavirus may be causing strokes. Some of the news is based on reports from hospitals that showed that there have been a small number of adults that have had a stroke whilst also having the coronavirus. This does not show that coronavirus causes stroke. But the information is helpful for healthcare professionals and researchers to inform how patients are treated and future research studies. 

The reports from hospitals don’t tell us that coronavirus is a cause of stroke because:

  • They record a small number of stroke patients, not enough people for researchers to understand any possible link between stroke risk and coronavirus. There is a small amount of evidence that patients with coronavirus have increased blood clotting. But we don’t yet know how this could increase the risk of stroke, for whom, or what the most appropriate treatments are.
  • There is no way for researchers to know whether the patient’s stroke was linked to them having coronavirus, or whether it was just a coincidence.
  • The studies didn’t take into account other things that could have increased the risk of stroke in these stroke patients, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

In order to understand any possible link between coronavirus and risk of stroke, we need detailed information about big groups of stroke patients. 

We welcome more research to address the many questions we don’t have answers for. We are working with stroke researchers and healthcare professionals to understand coronavirus and its effects and we will continue to analyse new findings when they are published.

Stroke happens every five minutes in the UK and it is likely that some people with coronavirus may have a stroke at the same time. Right now, it’s most important that you act FAST by calling 999 if you or someone you know has the signs of stroke. If you also have the symptoms of coronavirus, you should tell the paramedics.

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