Neurological and Psychiatric Complications in Patients With COVID-19

Heather Mason

June 24, 2021

A study published in Brain Communications has found an 11% prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms among hospitalised COVID-19 patients, with a wide range of associated neurological and psychiatric complications.

The researchers analysed 245 adult COVID-19 patients with a de novo neurological or psychiatric manifestation to better understand the detailed spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders.

The results show that the most frequent neuropsychiatric symptoms were motor weakness, cognitive disturbances, impaired consciousness, psychiatric disturbance, headache, and behavioural disturbance. Some symptoms appeared soon after COVID-19 onset, such as myalgia, headache, or anosmia, while others had a delayed onset, such as sensory symptoms and psychiatric disturbances.

The most frequent neuropsychiatric syndromes were encephalopathy, critical illness polyneuropathy and myopathy, psychiatric disturbances, and cerebrovascular complications.

Other syndromes, such as isolated disabling headache, seizures, isolated movement disorders, and encephalitis, were much rarer. Guillain-Barré syndrome was observed in five patients.

The most commonly observed psychiatric disorders in the context of COVID-19 infection were anxiety disorders, depression, acute psychosis, adjustment disorders and acute stress, although some of the patients had a pre-existing condition.

The study described a wide range of neuropsychiatric complications, and further studies are needed to understand their underlying mechanisms and potential long-term problems, the authors concluded.

References: Delorme C, Houot M, Rosso C, Carvalho S, Nedelec T, Maatoug R, et al. The wide spectrum of Covid-19 neuropsychiatric complications within a multidisciplinary center. Brain Communications 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab135.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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