J Neurol Sci. 2020 Sep 6;418:117119. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2020.117119. Online ahead of print.
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is known to cause hypoxemia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in a significant portion of those with severe disease. Survivors of critical illness and ARDS often experience neurocognitive impairment but, to date, there is scant literature correlating radiographic hypoxic brain injury to hypoxemia related to ARDS. In this case series, we describe three cases of hypoxic brain injury seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with hypoxemia secondary to COVID-19-related ARDS. The lack of severe observed hypoxemia in two of the cases suggests that unrecognized or asymptomatic hypoxemia may play a role in hypoxic brain injury related to COVID-19.