Coronavirus Updates Wellness

AdventHealth neurologist: COVID-19 increases stroke risk

ORLANDO, Fla., May 27, 2021 – People who are younger than 50 and who don’t fit the typical profile of those at high risk of stroke, are experiencing blood blockages in the brain when they are infected with COVID-19.

The link between COVID-19 and strokes is related to inflammation caused by the virus that makes people more likely to develop potentially brain-damaging blood clots, said Dr. Indrani Acosta, a vascular neurologist and medical director for stroke care at AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division.

“Right now, in clinical practice, if a patient is admitted with acute ischemic stroke and that patient has a large vessel stroke, is under the age of 50 and has no traditional risk factors for stroke, we are thinking the ]No. 1 cause is an active infection of COVID-19,” Acosta said on today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing.

Acosta said the number of patients at AdventHealth’s Central Florida hospitals continued to trend down this week to about 280 from 300 last week.

Indrani Enid Acosta, MD
Dr. Indrani Acosta

The “steady decline” is the result more people being protected by the vaccine, she said.

“Less hospitalizations usually means less deaths from the disease, so that is encouraging,” Acosta said.

But those who have not been vaccinated and become infected continue to experience devastating consequences such as strokes, which can cause speech impairment, paralysis and other neurological deficits.

She emphasized the need for everyone to pay attention to their own risk factors for strokes such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.

Symptoms of a stroke include drooping on one side of the face, weakness on one side of the body, speech impairment or vision changes. If you or a loved one are experiencing those symptoms call 911 immediately because strokes must be treated right away.

We encourage you to refer to the video by downloading it here on Vimeo or on the Life at AdventHealth Central Florida Facebook page to pull direct quotes from Acosta.