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Doctors urged to watch out for signs of stroke following Covid vaccination


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octors are being urged to watch out for signs of stroke in people receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after three young patients were admitted to hospital and one died.

Experts told how two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s suffered clots in their large arteries, leading to ischaemic stroke, though they stressed the chances were small.

The team said the NHS must look out for patients with ischaemic stroke (where blood clots block arteries) within about one month of vaccination.

Those who do should be “urgently evaluated” for a very rare syndrome called vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT).

This condition needs to be rapidly diagnosed and managed by a team with a range of expertise, who have quick access to a range of drugs, they said.

The experts, , including from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at University College London (UCL) Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, stressed that the cases of stroke are very rare and that stroke is more common in people who catch Covid-19.

There have been 309 cases of major thrombosis with low platelet count suggesting VITT from more than 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered, they said.

The number of people who experience blood clots from VITT after a Covid-19 vaccine is therefore extremely low at about one per 100,000 doses.

Lead author of the report, David Werring, professor of clinical neurology at UCL, said: “Although cerebral venous thrombosis – an uncommon stroke type in clinical practice – is now recognised as being the most frequent presentation of VITT, our study shows that the much more common ischaemic stroke, due to arterial thrombosis blocking blood flow to part of the brain, may also be a presenting feature of vaccine-induced thrombosis.

“Of course, both types of thrombosis remain extremely rare, but doctors need to be vigilant if patients present with typical stroke symptoms (eg face, arm or leg weakness, or impaired speech) due to a blocked artery any time between days four and 28 post-vaccination.”



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