An observational clinical study to understand brain complications of COVID-19

Study code

Lead researcher
Dr Orla Hilton

Study type
Data only

Institution or company
University of Liverpool

Researcher type

Speciality area
Stroke, COVID


An observational clinical study to understand brain complications of COVID-19 - the COVID-19 Clinical Neuroscience Study (COVID-CNS).

Stroke, when a blood clot or a bleed reduces blood flow to certain areas of the brain, is one of a few serious neurological complications of infection with COVID-19. We don’t know exactly why this happens in many cases. Studies from the recent pandemic suggest it may occur at a younger age in COVID-infected patients than in patients not infected with the virus.

In this study we seek to understand what puts younger individuals with COVID-19 infection at risk of having a stroke, in comparison both to older individuals and those who are not infected with the virus. We will also look at the different types of strokes younger individuals have and how their outcomes compare to older counterparts. We hope this will enable us to better understand this neurological complication of COVID-19 and to look for features of cases that link to poorer outcomes. This may help us consider ways to target and support those who are at higher risk of having a COVID-19-related stroke and prepare doctors for how to identify high risk individuals for future pandemics.

Potential patient benefit:

Stroke in younger individuals poses a great threat to socioeconomic stability due to the often-disabling nature of stroke and its sequelae. We don’t yet understand who is at risk of this neurological complication of COVID-19 infection, how these strokes may differ pathologically to those not associated with COVID-19 and the longer-term outcomes for these individuals. This study aims to expand on these points and may enable us to predict who is at greater risk of COVID-related stroke and what outcomes we may expect after such an event. We aim to publish the study by spring 2024 and these findings will support the identification of at risk individuals for pandemic preparedness.