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.


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


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