Dr. Mark HarriganUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurosurgery Professor Mark Harrigan, M.D., was featured in a HealthDay article, “COVID-19 Now Linked With Strokes in Young Patients.” 

The article highlighted the growing concern over the potential increase in stroke risk in young and middle-aged adults due to blood clots in blood vessels supplying the brain that are associated with the virus. HealthDay shared that there have been five cases of this concern at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City as well as similar cases at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and NYU Langone Health. In the cases at the aforementioned hospitals, the age of COVID patients experiencing strokes ranged from 33-49.

Harrigan stated that although there has not been an increase in strokes requiring neurosurgical intervention at UAB, that nurses have shared personal reports of COVID-19 patients’ blood clotting. UAB has actually seen an overall decrease in stroke volume, which Harrigan suspects is because many individuals are fearful of contracting COVID-19 at the hospital if they seek treatment.

“In fact, we've had a 50 percent decrease in the stroke volume over the last month or so," Harrigan said in the HealthDay article.

At the conclusion of the write-up, Harrigan left a call to action for patients to seek immediate treatment for stroke symptoms. According to the CDC, stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Read more about the signs and symptoms of a stroke and how to act F.A.S.T. when an incidence of stroke is suspected here on the CDC website.