Background Authors have noticed an increase in lung apex abnormalities on CT angiography (CTA) of the head and neck performed for stroke workup during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Objective To evaluate the incidence of these CTA findings and their relation to COVID-19 infection. Methods In this retrospective multicenter institutional review board-approved study, assessment was made of CTA findings of code patients who had a stroke between March 16 and April 5, 2020 at six hospitals across New York City. Demographic data, comorbidities, COVID-19 status, and neurological findings were collected. Assessment of COVID-19 related lung findings on CTA was made blinded to COVID-19 status. Incidence rates of COVID-19 related apical findings were assessed in all code patients who had a stroke and in patients with a stroke confirmed by imaging. Results The cohort consisted of a total of 118 patients with mean±SD age of 64.9±15.7 years and 57.6% (68/118) were male. Among all code patients who had a stroke, 28% (33/118) had COVID-19 related lung findings. RT-PCR was positive for COVID-19 in 93.9% (31/33) of these patients with apical CTA findings. Among patients who had a stroke confirmed by imaging, 37.5% (18/48) had COVID-19 related apical findings. RT-PCR was positive for COVID-19 in all (18/18) of these patients with apical findings. Conclusion The incidence of COVID-19 related lung findings in stroke CTA scans was 28% in all code patients who had a stroke and 37.5% in patients with a stroke confirmed by imaging. Stroke teams should closely assess the lung apices during this COVID-19 pandemic as CTA findings may be the first indicator of COVID-19 infection.
- CT angiography