Characteristics of intracerebral haemorrhage associated with COVID-19: a systematic review and pooled analysis of individual patient and aggregate data.
There are very few studies of the characteristics and causes of ICH in COVID-19, yet such data are essential to guide clinicians in clinical management, including challenging anticoagulation decisions. We aimed to describe the characteristics of spontaneous symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) associated with COVID-19.We systematically searched PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Database for data from patients with SARS-CoV-2 detected prior to or within 7 days after symptomatic ICH. We did a pooled analysis of individual patient data, then combined data from this pooled analysis with aggregate-level data.We included data from 139 patients (98 with individual data and 41 with aggregate-level data). In our pooled individual data analysis, the median age (IQR) was 60 (53-67) years and 64% (95% CI 54-73.7%) were male; 79% (95% CI 70.0-86.9%) had critically severe COVID-19. The pooled prevalence of lobar ICH was 67% (95% CI 56.3-76.0%), and of multifocal ICH was 36% (95% CI 26.4-47.0%). 71% (95% CI 61.0-80.4%) of patients were treated with anticoagulation (58% (95% CI 48-67.8%) therapeutic). The median NIHSS was 28 (IQR 15-28); mortality was 54% (95% CI 43.7-64.2%). Our combined analysis of individual and aggregate data showed similar findings. The pooled incidence of ICH across 12 cohort studies of inpatients with COVID-19 (n = 63,390) was 0.38% (95% CI 0.22-0.58%).Our data suggest that ICH associated with COVID-19 has different characteristics compared to ICH not associated with COVID-19, including frequent lobar location and multifocality, a high rate of anticoagulation, and high mortality. These observations suggest different underlying mechanisms of ICH in COVID-19 with potential implications for clinical treatment and trials.