Why is this research needed?
We need reliable information to compare stroke in people with and without COVID-19 to understand:
- If coronavirus can increase the risk of stroke and by how much.
- Who could be at the highest risk of having a stroke due to COVID-19?
- What can be done to reduce the risk of stroke in coronavirus patients?
Existing studies haven’t been able to answer these questions as they have only had access to limited information about stroke in people with the virus.
There is only one study in the UK that is collecting information about stroke in people who have coronavirus and people that do not. So far, it has helped us to understand which coronavirus patients may be more likely to have a stroke and why, as well as the type of stroke they are likely to have.
But the study is still too small to answer important questions that could guide the treatment of people with coronavirus to help them avoid the devastating effects of stroke
What is this research aiming to do?
This research will continue to build on this existing UK study looking at stroke in patients with and without COVID-19. The study will follow around 2000 stroke survivors for up to a year after their stroke. The researchers will look at valuable information about their strokes, including brain scans, to help us better understand the links between COVID-19 and stroke, and the effects of different treatments.
This will allow us to answer important questions that could change treatment for people with stroke and COVID-19, such as:
- Does the virus change risk of someone having a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain (intracerebral haemorrhage)? Researchers have suggested links between strokes caused by a blood clot (ischaemic stroke) and COVID-19, but there isn’t enough information about patients with a bleed in the brain.
- Will people that had coronavirus and stroke be more likely to have a second stroke than stroke survivors without coronavirus?
They will also look at how stroke wards in hospitals changed to stop the spread of COVID-19 to understand the most effective way to do this in future.
About this project team
Researchers on this project are experts in stroke care. They set up the first, and only research study in the UK that has collected information to compare stroke in patients with and without COVID-19.
People affected by stroke, and people that have had COVID-19, have given input into the study design and can help inform how the findings of the study are shared with healthcare professionals and the general public. This will help make sure that these messages are easy to understand, sensitive to people’s concerns, and cover what these groups want to know.
The researchers also work closely with stroke wards at hospitals in the UK so their research can be used quickly to guide how patients are treated. This can also help to make sure hospitals are ready to take part if further research is needed to test new treatments that could reduce the risk of stroke.