Clinical implications of neurological problems during intensive care unit (ICU) care for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients are unknown. This study aimed to describe the clinical implications of preexisting neurological comorbidities and new-onset neurological complications in ICU patients with COVID-19. ICU patients who were isolated and treated for COVID-19 between 19 February 2020 and 3 May 2020, from one tertiary hospital and one government-designated branch hospital were included. Clinical data including previous neurological disorders were extracted from electronic medical records. All neurological complications were evaluated by neurointensivists. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate independent factors in ICU mortality. The median age of 52 ICU patients with COVID-19 was 73 years. Nineteen (36.5%) patients had preexisting neurological comorbidities, and new-onset neurological complications occurred in 23 (44.2%) during ICU admission. Patients with preexisting neurological comorbidities required tracheostomy more frequently and more ventilator and ICU days than those without. Patients with new-onset neurological complications experienced more medical complications and had higher ICU severity score and ICU mortality rates. New-onset neurological complications remained an independent factor for ICU mortality. Many COVID-19 patients in the ICU have preexisting neurological comorbidities, making them at a high risk of new-onset neurological complications.
Keywords: coronavirus; critical care; mortality; neurocritical care; neurology.