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Neurologic Complications Seen in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Neurologic disorders tied to increased risk for in-hospital mortality

doctor examining his patient wearing oxygen mask

MONDAY, Oct. 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Neurologic disorders are not uncommon in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in Neurology.

Jennifer A. Frontera, M.D., from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues prospectively followed hospitalized severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive patients to assess new neurologic disorders and hospital outcomes. The analysis included 4,491 COVID-19 patients hospitalized between March 10, 2020, and May 20, 2020.

The researchers found that 13.5 percent of patients developed a new neurologic disorder in a median of two days from COVID-19 symptom onset, including toxic/metabolic encephalopathy (6.8 percent), seizure (1.6 percent), stroke (1.9 percent), and hypoxic/ischemic injury (1.4 percent). There were no reported cases of meningitis/encephalitis or myelopathy/myelitis related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Neurologic disorders were more frequent among patients who were older, male, White, hypertensive, diabetic, and intubated and who had higher sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores. When adjusting for age, sex, SOFA scores, intubation, medical history, medical complications, medications, and comfort care status, there was an increased risk for in-hospital mortality among COVID-19 patients with neurologic disorders (hazard ratio, 1.38), as well as a decreased likelihood of discharge home (hazard ratio, 0.72).

"The neurological complications seen in COVID-19 are predominately the secondary effects of being severely ill and suffering from low oxygen levels in the body for prolonged periods of time," Frontera said in a statement.

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