Brainstem involvement and respiratory failure in COVID-19.
Neurol Sci. 2020 May 29;:
Authors: Manganelli F, Vargas M, Iovino A, Iacovazzo C, Santoro L, Servillo G
Respiratory failure is the most worrisome problem of COVID-19. Patients may develop severe pneumonia requiring invasive mechanical ventilation and a significant proportion of them dies. It has been suggested that brainstem might play a role in severe respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients. We described three COVID-19 patients in ICU at Federico II Hospital in Naples that, although had recovered from pneumonia, could not be weaned from invasive mechanical ventilation. Our clinical evaluation was consistent with an involvement of the brainstem and especially of respiratory centre thus possibly explaining the weaning failure in patients that were awake and had recovered from lung involvement. Our data, though limited, indicate that brainstem involvement may play a role in respiratory failure and perhaps in the high death rate of COVID-19 patients. Moreover, the weaning failure from mechanical ventilation due to central respiratory drive depression might underlie the unusual long stay in ICU reported for COVID-19 patients.
PMID: 32472516 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]