Frequency of Neurological Presentations of Coronavirus Disease in Patients Presenting to a Tertiary Care Hospital During the 2019 Coronavirus Disease Pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

Cureus. 2020 Aug 18;12(8):e9846. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9846.


Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), usually presents clinically with cough, fever, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and/or smell. COVID-19 can also present with neurologic signs and symptoms, including headache, hyposmia/anosmia, encephalopathy, meningoencephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, stroke, and seizure. Viral transmission occurs through aerosols generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales and by direct touching of contaminated surfaces. The present study evaluated the frequency of neurologic presentations of coronavirus disease in patients presenting at a tertiary care hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methodology This cross-sectional study included 350 inpatients and outpatients (self-isolated) with polymerase chain reaction-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who presented at Dow International Medical College of Karachi between March and June 2020. Of these 350 patients, 68 (18.9%) presented with neurological signs and symptoms and were further evaluated. The data were analyzed statistically using IBM Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) for Windows, version 20.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY). Results The 350 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection included 245 (70%) men and 105 (30%) women; of these, 262 (74.9%) were married, and 88 (25.1%) were unmarried. Patients ranged in age from 17 to 88 years (mean ± standard deviation, 49.5 ± 17.4 years), with 68 (18.9%) having neurological manifestations. Headache was the most frequent neurological symptom, reported in 21 (6%) patients, followed by vertigo in 12 patients (3.4%), numbness/paresthesia in 11 (3.1%), altered level of consciousness in seven (2%), hyposmia/anosmia in five (1.4%), and encephalitis in three (0.9%). Other symptoms included sudden hemiparesis (stroke) in two patients (0.6%), flaccid paralysis due to Guillain-Barre syndrome in one (0.3%), and seizure in one (0.3%). Conclusion Neurological involvement is not infrequent in patients with COVID-19. Neurologic manifestations should be carefully monitored in infected patients. COVID-19 should be suspected in patients presenting with neurological abnormalities and should be included in the differential diagnosis to prevent further virus transmission.

PMID:32953353 | PMC:PMC7497771 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.9846

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