Electroencephalogram (EEG) in COVID-19: A systematic retrospective study

Link to article at PubMed

Petrescu AM, et al. Neurophysiol Clin 2020.


OBJECTIVES: Although rare, neurological manifestations in SARS-CoV-2 infection are increasingly being reported. We conducted a retrospective systematic study to describe the electroencephalography (EEG) characteristics in this disease, looking for specific patterns.

METHODS: EEGs performed in patients with positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2 between 25/03/2020 and 06/05/2020 in the University Hospital of Bicêtre were independently reviewed by two experienced neurologists. We used the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society's terminology for the description of abnormal patterns. EEGs were classified into five categories, from normal to critically altered. Interobserver reliability was calculated using Cohen's kappa coefficient. Medical records were reviewed to extract demographics, clinical, imaging and biological data.

RESULTS: Forty EEGs were reviewed in 36 COVID-19 patients, 18 in intensive care units (ICU) and 22 in medicine units. The main indications were confusion or fluctuating alertness for 23 (57.5%) and delayed awakening after stopping sedation in ICU in six (15%). EEGs were normal to mildly altered in 23 (57.5%) contrary to the 42.5% where EEG alterations were moderate in four (10%), severe in eight (20%) and critical in five (12.5%). Generalized periodic discharges (GPDs), multifocal periodic discharges (MPDs) or rhythmic delta activity (RDA) were found in 13 recordings (32.5%). EEG alterations were not stereotyped or specific. They could be related to an underlying morbid status, except for three ICU patients with unexplained encephalopathic features.

CONCLUSION: In this first systematic analysis of COVID-19 patients who underwent EEG, over half of them presented a normal recording pattern. EEG alterations were not different from those encountered in other pathological conditions.

PMID:32653111 | DOI:10.1016/j.neucli.2020.06.001

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