Basal Ganglia Involvement and Altered Mental Status: A Unique Neurological Manifestation of Coronavirus Disease 2019

Cureus. 2020 Apr 28;12(4):e7869. doi: 10.7759/cureus.7869.


Like other respiratory viruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may enter the central nervous system (CNS) via the hematogenous or neuronal path. However, neurological complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have not been reported frequently. Encephalopathy has been described as a presenting symptom or complication of COVID-19 in some reports. We report a case of a 54-year-old patient who presented with unique clinical characteristics and imaging with brain basal ganglia involvement likely due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In our experience, the incidence of spontaneous bilateral basal ganglia hemorrhage is rare. Further study will be needed to investigate this finding of the CNS and altered mental status in patients with this new type of coronavirus infection. Based on the case presented and other cases, understanding the pathways of virus neuroinvasion is necessary to help recognize possible pathologically related consequences of infection and to evaluate new diagnostic and management approaches that will help improve SARS-CoV-2 infection treatment and control.

Keywords: altered mental state; basal ganglia; case report; covid-19.

Publication types

  • Case Reports