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Neurologic Complications of COVID-19 Described

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2020 -- For patients hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, neurologic complications include altered mental status, fatigue, headache, and stroke, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Neurology Clinical Practice.

Pria Anand, M.D., from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues characterized neurologic findings associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in inpatients at an urban, safety-net U.S. medical center caring mainly for underserved, low-income, and elderly patients. Hospitalized adult patients with an inpatient neurologic or neurocritical care consultation or admission were identified from April 15 to July 1, 2020; data were included for 74 patients (51 percent Black).

The researchers found that at presentation to the hospital, the most common neurologic symptoms included altered mental status, fatigue, and headache (53, 24, and 18 percent, respectively). Fourteen patients (19 percent) had ischemic strokes, including six from a cardioembolic source; one patient had a transient ischemic attack or aborted stroke following thrombolysis. Seven patients (9 percent) had primary movement disorders, including five and one with myoclonus and osmotic demyelination syndrome, respectively. Ten in-hospital mortalities were recorded; at discharge, survivors had moderately severe disability (median modified Rankin Scale score, 4).

"These findings demonstrate a broad range of etiologies of acute neurologic complications in patients with COVID-19," the authors write. "The majority of patients did not require critical care, suggesting that neurologic complications may be common in patients with moderate COVID-19 as well as those with severe disease."

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Posted: December 2020

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