Clinical features of neurological patients with coronavirus 2019: an observational study of one centre

Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2021;55(2):195-201. doi: 10.5603/PJNNS.a2021.0011. Epub 2021 Feb 2.


Background: Since the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) in Wuhan, China, it has been extensively studied by many scientists. Susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection is shown by people of all ages, especially those with different comorbidities. Our goal was to describe the clinical characteristics, treatment, course, and outcome of COVID-19 in patients with pre-existing neurological disorders.

Method: We retrospectively studied 70 patients with COVID-19 and previous neurological diseases who were treated in the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration from 16 March to 15 June 2020. Demographic data, symptoms, image data, laboratory results, treatment methods and results, clinical signs and symptoms of patients hospitalised due to CNS diseases with COVID-19 were collected.

Results: The average age of hospitalised patients was 72, and the majority (63%) were women (44/70). The most common neurological disease was dementia, which was present in almost a third of patients (30.76%), followed by ischaemic stroke (24.61%). Chest imaging showed the presence of interstitial changes in 47% (33) of patients. Laboratory tests revealed increased total blood cells, increased levels of C-reactive protein, procalcitonin, D-dimers, liver indicator markers and IL-6 in the most severely affected patients. The treatment of patients was focused on monitoring their clinical condition, and supporting respiratory inefficiency with passive oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation. According to the guidelines of the Hospital Therapeutic Committee, pharmacological treatment (Arechin®, Kaletra®) was introduced in cases without contraindications. In patients with moderate COVID-19, antimalarial or antiviral agents were applied (78%). 30% of our observed patients died during the hospitalisation.

Conclusions: We studied a select group of patients (elderly, with comorbidities, and moderate or severe COVID-19 course). Pre-existing neurological disorders were additionally associated with a poorer prognosis and a high fatality rate (30%). Dementia and CNS vascular disorder were the most frequent pre-existing neurological conditions. The neurological symptoms of COVID-19 were various. We observed impaired consciousness, dizziness, headache, nausea, myalgia, psychomotor agitation and slowness, delirium, and psychoses. Further analysis is needed to elucidate the incidence of COVID-19 neurological complications.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; dementia; stroke.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia*
  • COVID-19*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stroke*