Movement Disorders Associated with COVID-19

Parkinsons Dis. 2021 Nov 8;2021:3227753. doi: 10.1155/2021/3227753. eCollection 2021.


As neurological complications associated with COVID-19 keep unfolding, the number of cases with COVID-19-associated de novo movement disorders is rising. Although no clear pathomechanistic explanation is provided yet, the growing number of these cases is somewhat alarming. This review gathers information from 64 reports of de novo movement disorders developing after/during infection with SARS-CoV-2. Three new cases with myoclonus occurring shortly after a COVID-19 infection are also presented. Treatment resulted in partial to complete recovery in all three cases. Although the overall percentage of COVID-19 patients who develop movement disorders is marginal, explanations on a probable causal link have been suggested by numerous reports; most commonly involving immune-mediated and postinfectious and less frequently hypoxic-associated and ischemic-related pathways. The current body of evidence points myoclonus and ataxia out as the most frequent movement disorders occurring in COVID-19 patients. Some cases of tremor, chorea, and hypokinetic-rigid syndrome have also been observed in association with COVID-19. In particular, parkinsonism may be of dual concern in the setting of COVID-19; some have linked viral infections with Parkinson's disease (PD) based on results from cerebrospinal fluid analyses, and PD is speculated to impact the outcome of COVID-19 in patients negatively. In conclusion, the present paper reviewed the demographic, clinical, and treatment-associated information on de novo movement disorders in COVID-19 patients in detail; it also underlined the higher incidence of myoclonus and ataxia associated with COVID-19 than other movement disorders.

Publication types

  • Review