What are the neurological and neuropsychiatric complications associated with COVID-19 infection?

Bottom Line:

Cerebrovascular events, altered mental status, and peripheral neurologic syndromes have been noted in some patients affected by COVID-19. Although this link has been seen, more research is needed to understand why these syndromes occur, and potential risk factors leading to them.

Reference:

Varatharaj, A. et al. Neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 in 153 patients: a UK-wide surveillance study. Lancet Psychiatry (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30287-X

Date Published:

25 June 2020

Synopsis:

This study looked at unique cases of COVID-19 associated with neurological clinical syndromes (e.g. cerebrovascular event, altered mental status, peripheral neuropathy). Complete datasets were available for 125 patients. Of the 125 cases, 62% had a cerebrovascular event (i.e. an event affecting the blood flow in the brain) and 31% had altered mental status, while the remaining patients presented with peripheral disorders and other syndromes. Cerebrovascular events were most common among older individuals. 57 (74%) of the 77 patients who presented with a cerebrovascular event had an ischemic stroke. 23 (59%) of the 39 patients with altered mental status met clinical criteria for a neuropsychiatric disorder, of whom 43% presented with new-onset psychosis. Overall, this study indicated the presence of neurological and neuropsychiatric complications associated with COVID-19. More research is needed to better understand the link between COVID-19 and these complications, and the potential risk factors.

Summary by: Max Solish