Neurological features and outcome in COVID-19: dementia can predict severe disease.J Neurovirol. 2021 02; 27(1):86-93.JN
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 22 million people worldwide. Although much has been learned about COVID-19, we do not know much about its neurological features and their outcome. This observational study was conducted on the patients of Imam Hossein Hospital, and 361 adult patients (214 males) with confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 from March 5, 2020 to April 3, 2020, were enrolled. Data was gathered on age, sex, comorbidities, initial symptoms, symptoms during the disease course, neurological symptoms, and outcome. The mean age of the patients was 61.90 ± 16.76 years. The most common initial symptoms were cough, fever, and dyspnea. In 21 patients (5.8%), the initial symptom was neurological. History of dementia was associated with severe COVID-19 disease (odds ratio = 1.28). During the course of the disease, 186 patients (51.52%) had at least one neurological symptom, the most common being headache (109 [30.2%]), followed by anosmia/ageusia (69, [19.1%]), and dizziness (54, [15%]). Also, 31 patients had neurological complications (8.58%). Anosmia, ageusia, dizziness, and headache were associated with favorable outcome (P < 0.001), while altered mental status and hemiparesis were associated with poor outcome. The mortality rate of patients who had neurological complications was more than twice than that of patients without neurological complication (P = 0.008). Almost half of the patients experienced at least one neurological symptom, which may be the initial presentation of COVID-19. Dementia appears to be associated with severe COVID-19. Mortality was higher in patients with neurological complications, and these patients needed more intensive care.