AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2020 Aug 20. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A6793. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A large spectrum of neurologic disease has been reported in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Our aim was to investigate the yield of neuroimaging in patients with COVID-19 undergoing CT or MR imaging of the brain and to describe associated imaging findings.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study involving 2054 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 presenting to 2 hospitals in New York City between March 4 and May 9, 2020, of whom 278 (14%) underwent either CT or MR imaging of the brain. All images initially received a formal interpretation from a neuroradiologist within the institution and were subsequently reviewed by 2 neuroradiologists in consensus, with disputes resolved by a third neuroradiologist.
RESULTS: The median age of these patients was 64 years (interquartile range, 50-75 years), and 43% were women. Among imaged patients, 58 (21%) demonstrated acute or subacute neuroimaging findings, the most common including cerebral infarctions (11%), parenchymal hematomas (3.6%), and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (1.1%). Among the 51 patients with MR imaging examinations, 26 (51%) demonstrated acute or subacute findings; notable findings included 6 cases of cranial nerve abnormalities (including 4 patients with olfactory bulb abnormalities) and 3 patients with a microhemorrhage pattern compatible with critical illness-associated microbleeds.
CONCLUSIONS: Our experience confirms the wide range of neurologic imaging findings in patients with COVID-19 and suggests the need for further studies to optimize management for these patients.