Development of safe and effective vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains the cornerstone of controlling this pandemic. However, there are increasing reports of various types of stroke including ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke, as well as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) after COVID-19 vaccination. This paper aims to review reports of stroke associated with COVID-19 vaccines and provide a coherent clinical picture of this condition.
Materials and methods
A literature review was performed with a focus on data from recent studies.
Most of such patients are women under 60 years of age and who had received ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. Most studies reported CVST with or without secondary ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, and some with Vaccine-induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT). The most common clinical symptom of CVST seen after COVID-19 vaccination was headache. The clinical course of CVST after COVID-19 vaccination may be more severe than CVST not associated with COVID vaccination. Management of CVST following COVID-19 vaccination is challenging and may differ from the standard treatment of CVST. Low molecular weight heparin is commonly used in the treatment of CVST; however, it may worsen outcomes in CVST associated with VITT. Furthermore, administration of intravenous immunoglobulin and high-dose glucocorticoids have been recommended with various success rates.
These contradictory observations are a source of confusion in clinical decision-making and warrant further study and development of clinical guidelines. Clinicians should be aware of clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of stroke associated with COVID-19 vaccination.