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Neurological Manifestations Prevalent for Inpatients With COVID-19

THURSDAY, May 13, 2021 -- Neurological manifestations are common among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and are associated with an increased risk for in-hospital mortality, according to a study published online May 11 in JAMA Network Open.

Sherry Hsiang-Yi Chou, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving adults hospitalized with COVID-19 at 28 centers across 13 countries and four continents to determine neurological phenotypes, incidence, and outcomes. Data were included for three cohorts with a total of 3,743 patients.

The researchers found that 82 percent of patients had any neurological manifestations. The most common self-reported symptoms included headache and anosmia or ageusia (37 and 26 percent, respectively). Acute encephalopathy, coma, and stroke were the most prevalent neurologic signs and/or syndromes (49, 17, and 6 percent, respectively), while meningitis and/or encephalitis were rare (0.5 percent). After adjustment for study site, age, sex, race, and ethnicity, the presence of clinically captured neurologic signs and/or syndromes was associated with an increased risk for in-hospital death (adjusted odds ratio, 5.99). The risk for developing neurologic signs and/or syndromes with COVID-19 was increased in association with the presence of preexisting neurological disorders (adjusted odds ratio, 2.23).

"Even if the pandemic is completely eradicated, we are still talking about millions of survivors who need our help," Chou said in a statement. "It is important to find out what symptoms and health problems those patients are facing, and there is still plenty of work for years to come."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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