The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) can cause a wide range of neurological complications, even in patients who are not critically ill, a new study shows.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it became clear that infection with the coronavirus can affect organ systems throughout the body. That includes problems affecting the brain and nervous system – ranging from altered mental states to seizures to strokes.
In the new study, researchers found that among Covid-19 patients at their safety-net hospital, neurological complications ran the gamut. And they were even seen in people who were more moderately ill with the infection.
Safety-net hospitals are obligated, by mandate or mission, to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. So they typically have a large share of patients who are low-income, minority and either uninsured or on Medicaid.
Those Americans have also been among the hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s unclear at this point whether Black or Hispanic Americans are at increased risk of neurologic complications, according to lead researcher Dr. Pria Anand, from Boston Medical Center.
But it’s important to document how the complications are showing up in hospitals serving low-income and minority patients, she said.
Anand and her colleagues studied the records of more than 900 Covid-19 patients treated at their hospital between April 15 and July 1. Of that group, 74 needed a neurological consult or admission.
Overall, 18 patients suffered a stroke, 15 had seizures, and 26 were diagnosed with encephalopathy – a broad term for brain dysfunction, including confusion and delirium. SOVEREIGNPH