J Neurol Sci. 2020 Aug 15;415:116969. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2020.116969. Epub 2020 Jun 3.
OBJECTIVE: To report neurological manifestations seen in patients hospitalized with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from a large academic medical center in Chicago, Illinois.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed data records of 50 patients with COVID-19 who were evaluated by the neurology services from March 1, 2020 - April 30, 2020. Patients were categorized into 2 groups based on timing of developing neurological manifestations: the "Neuro first" group had neurological manifestations upon initial assessment, and the "COVID first" group developed neurological symptoms greater than 24 h after hospitalization. The demographics, comorbidities, disease severity and neurological symptoms and diagnoses of both groups were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed to compare the two groups.
RESULTS: A total of 50 patients (48% African American and 24% Latino) were included in the analysis. Most common neurological manifestations observed were encephalopathy (n = 30), cerebrovascular disease (n = 20), cognitive impairment (n = 13), seizures (n = 13), hypoxic brain injury (n = 7), dysgeusia (n = 5), and extraocular movement abnormalities (n = 5). The "COVID-19 first" group had more evidence of physiologic disturbances on arrival with a more severe/critical disease course (83.3% vs 53.8%, p 0.025).
CONCLUSION: Neurologic manifestations of COVID-19 are highly variable and can occur prior to the diagnosis of or as a complication of the viral infection. Despite similar baseline comorbidities and demographics, the COVID-19 patients who developed neurologic symptoms later in hospitalization had more severe disease courses. Differently from previous studies, we noted a high percentage of African American and Latino individuals in both groups.