Neurological manifestations in severe acute respiratory syndrome

Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2005 Sep;14(3):113-9.


During the worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, there were 664 probable SARS patients reported in Taiwan. SARS patients usually present with symptoms related to the respiratory system while neurological manifestations have rarely been described. There were three patients who developed axonopathic polyneuropathy 3-4 weeks after onset of SARS; their clinical condition and electrophysiological studies revealed obvious improvement at follow-up. Two SARS patients have experienced myopathy and three other patients developed rhabdomyolysis. These neuromuscular disorders in SARS patients were considered as critical illness neuropathy and myopathy, but the possibility of direct attack by SARS coronavirus on the nerve and muscle could not be excluded. Large artery ischemic stroke were described in five SARS patients with poor prognosis. Multiple factors contributed to this vascular insult included hypercoagulabe status related to both SARS coronavirous and the usage of intravenous immunoglobulin, septic and cardiogenic shock, and possible vasculitis. The relationship between SARS and above neurological problems still needs further clarification. Pathological and microbiological studies are mandatory to delineate this issue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Polyneuropathies / etiology*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / etiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / complications*


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous