The largest multi-institutional international study to date on brain complications of COVID-19 has found that approximately one in 100 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 will likely develop complications of the central nervous system. These can include stroke, hemorrhage, and other potentially fatal complications. The study is being presented tomorrow at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Much has been written about the overall pulmonary problems related to COVID-19, but we do not often talk about the other organs that can be affected. Our study shows that central nervous system complications represent a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in this devastating pandemic.
study lead author Scott H. Faro, M.D., FASFNR, professor of radiology and neurology and director of the Division of Neuroradiology/Head & Neck Imaging at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


Dr. Faro initiated the study after discovering that existing literature on central nervous system complications in hospitalized COVID-19 infected patients was based on a relatively small number of cases.

The most common cause of admission was confusion and altered mental status, followed by fever. Many of the patients had comorbidities like hypertension, cardiac disease and diabetes.

The most common complication was ischemic stroke, with an incidence of 6.2%, followed by intracranial hemorrhage (3.72%) and encephalitis (0.47%), an inflammation of the brain.

The researchers also discovered a small percentage of unusual findings, such as acute disseminating encephalomyelitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, a syndrome that mimics many of the symptoms of a stroke.

It is important to know an accurate incidence of all the major central nervous system complications. There should probably be a low threshold to order brain imaging for patients with COVID-19.
Dr. Faro

 

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See also https://press.rsna.org/

 

 
 
 
 
 

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