Changing moods and paralysis are the most common neurological symptoms associated with the coronavirus infection. “Until now, this has been the biggest and first study in the literature to ever characterize the neurological symptoms and neuroimaging traits in COVID-19 patients,” says Dr. Abdelkader Mahammedi, the author of the study, and adds “Newly discovered patterns may help doctors recognize the correlations with COVID-19 in a better and faster manner and probably carry out earlier interventions.”
Researchers studied the neurological symptoms and imaging findings of the patients who came from three major institutions (University of Brescia, Brescia; University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara; and University of Sassari, Sassari). Italy was the second center for the spreading of COVID-19, which resulted in more than 30,000 deaths.
The study included the images of 725 inpatients, who were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 between February 29 and April 4. Of these patients, 108 (15%) had serious neurological symptoms, therefore neuroimaging and spinal imaging were performed on them. CT scan was implemented on the majority of the patients (99%), while 16% were subjected to head and neck CT imaging, and MRI procedures were performed on 18%.
Researchers reported that the mental state changed in 59% of the patients, who had the most prevalent neurological symptoms, while 31% had strokes. In addition to these symptoms, headaches (12%), seizures (9%) and dizziness (4%) were observed in patients.
“Of these 108 patients, 31% to 29% had no known medical backgrounds. Of those, 10 people, aged 16 to 62, had stroke while two had cerebral hemorrhage. No findings could be found regarding any CT scans in seventy-one patients (66%); among them, 7 (35) showed abnormalities in MRI,” says Mahammedi, who adds that changing mental state was more prevalent in elderly adults.
While the results set forth that the neuroimaging traits of COVID-19 patients changed and that the changing mental state and strokes are the most prevalent factors in the patients, Mahammedi says that this study also requires other conditions.
“Currently, we have only a small amount of information on whether neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients stem from critical diseases or a direct invasion of the central nervous system by SARS-CoV-2. We hope that many more studies on this subject matter will help reveal the hints and provide better interventions for the patients,” says Dr. Abdelkader Mahammedi, who reports that this subject matter requires much more studies.
– “Imaging in Neurological Disease of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients: An Italian Multicenter Retrospective Observational Study”. by Abdelkader Mahammedi et al. Radiology doi:10.1148/radiol.2020201933