COVID-19 patients who present with strokes but without typical COVID-19 symptoms have been described in small numbers. Despite the paucity of fever and respiratory symptoms, they remain capable of infecting others. The patient we discuss herein highlights the important issues of strokes as presenting events of COVID-19 infections, and how testing for COVID-19 in stroke patients, even when asymptomatic for COVID-19, can play an important role in infection control, clinical management and outcomes amidst this global pandemic.
A 45-year-old male resident of a dormitory presented to our unit with acute vertigo and left-sided dysmetria. NIHSS was 2. The initial magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated infarction of the left cerebellar hemisphere, middle cerebellar peduncle and hemipons. An extensive work-up for stroke etiologies was unremarkable. Despite having no fever, respiratory symptoms, anosmia or ageusia, he was isolated and screened for COVID-19 due to his epidemiologic risks, with multiple residents from his dormitory being recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Confirming our suspicion, his respiratory samples returned positive for COVID-19. His D-dimer levels returned normal. Thereafter, the patient underwent posterior decompression surgery due to worsening edema caused by the cerebellar infarct. He was started on antiplatelet therapy and recovered significantly a month from presentation with an modified Rankin Sore of 2. He remained without typical COVID-19 symptoms.
Our patient’s case clearly supports the screening for COVID-19 in stroke patients who are without COVID-19 symptoms, appreciating the significant value it adds to infection control, clinical management, and outcomes amidst this global pandemic.