Objective: To elaborate on possible cognitive sequelae related to COVID-19, associated cerebrovascular injuries as well as the general consequences from intensive care. COVID-19 is known to have several, serious CNS-related consequences, but neuropsychological studies of severe COVID-19 are still rare.
Methods: M., a 45-year-old man, who survived a severe COVID-19 disease course including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), cerebral microbleeds, and 35 days of mechanical ventilation, is described. We elaborate on M's recovery and rehabilitation process from onset to the 8-month follow-up. The cognitive functions were evaluated with a comprehensive screening battery at 4 weeks after extubation and at the 8-month follow-up.
Results: Following extubation, M. was delirious, reported visual hallucinations, and had severe sleeping difficulties. At about 3 months after COVID-19 onset, M. showed mild to moderate deficits on tests measuring processing speed, working memory, and attention. At assessments at 8 months, M. performed better, with results above average on tests measuring learning, memory, word fluency, and visuospatial functions. Minor deficits were still found regarding logical reasoning, attention, executive functioning, and processing speed. There were no lingering psychiatric symptoms. While M. had returned to a part-time job, he was not able to resume previous work-tasks.
Conclusion: This case-study demonstrates possible cognitive deficits after severe COVID-19 and emphasizes the need of a neuropsychological follow-up, with tests sensitive to minor deficits. The main findings of this report provide some support that the long-term prognosis for cognition in severe COVID-19 may be hopeful.
Keywords: ARDS; Assessment; COVID-19; Case Report; Executive functions; Rehabilitation.
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