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2.
BMJ Open ; 11(12): e053980, 2021 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550963

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Epilepsy is a chronic condition requiring consistent follow-up aimed at seizure control, and monitoring of anti-seizure medication (ASM) levels and side effects. Telemedicine (TM) offers invaluable support to patient follow-up, guaranteeing the prompt availability of a team of experts for persons with epilepsy (PWE) widely distributed across the country. Although many health institutions have endorsed the use of TM, robust data on effectiveness, safety and costs of TM applied to epilepsy are lacking. TELEmedicine for EPIlepsy Care (TELE-EPIC) will evaluate the effectiveness of video consultation (VC) via TM compared with usual care (UC) for the monitoring of PWE (TELE-EPIC_RCT). Moreover, TELE-EPIC will apply an innovative Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS) device for quantitation of ASM through finger prick blood sampling as an alternative to venipuncture sampling (TELE-EPIC_VAMS). METHODS AND ANALYSIS: TELE-EPIC_RCT is a multicentre, open, pragmatic two-arm randomised controlled trial prospectively including adult and paediatric outpatients with established diagnosis of epilepsy consecutively attending the Epilepsy Centres of Bologna and Rome, respectively. The primary outcome is the non-inferiority of VC on seizure control compared with UC after an 18-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes are adherence to treatment, ASM-related adverse events, quality of life, mood disorders, patient and caregiver satisfaction, safety and costs. TELE-EPIC_VAMS is a cross-validation study for blood ASM quantitation through a novel, VAMS-based device, comparing (1) VAMS versus plasma samples (reference standard method); and (2) nurse-collected versus self-collected blood by VAMS device. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has been approved by the local ethics committee (349-2019-SPER-AUSLBO). Complete information about the state of project, relevant events and results will be regularly updated on the project's webpage on ClinicalTrials.gov. The project's results and data on the potential impact of TM in epilepsy will be disseminated on social media. A closeout meeting will be convened for the communication and dissemination of the project, highlighting its main achievements and impacts. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04496310.


Subject(s)
Epilepsy , Telemedicine , Adult , Child , Epilepsy/therapy , Humans , Multicenter Studies as Topic , Outpatients , Quality of Life , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Seizures
4.
Ann Clin Transl Neurol ; 8(4): 968-979, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1155205

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Many neurological manifestations are associated with COVID-19, including a distinct form of encephalopathy related to cytokine storm, the acute systemic inflammatory syndrome present in a subgroup of COVID-19 patients. Cytokine storm is also associated with immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), a complication of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy, a highly effective treatment for refractory hematological malignancies. We investigated whether COVID-19-related encephalopathy, ICANS, and other encephalopathies associated with cytokine storm, share clinical and investigative findings. METHODS: Narrative literature review. RESULTS: Comparisons between COVID-19-related encephalopathy and ICANS revealed several overlapping features. Clinically, these included dysexecutive syndrome, language disturbances, akinetic mutism and delirium. EEG showed a prevalence of frontal abnormalities. Brain MRI was often unrevealing. CSF elevated cytokine levels have been reported. A direct correlation between cytokine storm intensity and severity of neurological manifestations has been shown for both conditions. Clinical recovery occurred spontaneously or following immunotherapies in most of the patients. Similar clinical and investigative features were also reported in other encephalopathies associated with cytokine storm, such as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, sepsis, and febrile infection-associated encephalopathies. INTERPRETATION: COVID-19-related encephalopathy and ICANS are characterized by a predominant electro-clinical frontal lobe dysfunction and share several features with other encephalopathies associated with cytokine storm, which may represent the common denominator of a clinical spectrum of neurological disorders. Therefore, we propose a unifying definition of cytokine storm-associated encephalopathy (CySE), and its diagnostic criteria.


Subject(s)
Brain Diseases/physiopathology , Brain/physiopathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/physiopathology , Immunotherapy, Adoptive/methods , Receptors, Chimeric Antigen , Brain Diseases/epidemiology , Brain Diseases/therapy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cytokine Release Syndrome/epidemiology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/therapy , Humans , Immunotherapy, Adoptive/trends
5.
Front Neurol ; 11: 613719, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1006010

ABSTRACT

Objectives: We explored the impact of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) emergency on the health of people with epilepsy (PwE). We also investigated their attitude toward telemedicine. Methods: The PubMed database up to September 10, 2020 was searched for questionnaire-based studies conducted in PwE during the COVID-19 emergency, and the literature retrieved was reviewed. In addition, all patients who had a telephone consultation with our center between May 7 and July 31, 2020 were invited to fill in a 57-item online questionnaire focusing on epilepsy and comorbidities, any changes in lifestyle or clinical conditions and any emergency-related problems arising during the COVID-19 emergency, and their views on telemedicine. Associations between variables were detected through X 2 test and Fisher's exact test. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to evaluate the effects of different factors on clinical conditions. Results: Twelve studies met the literature search criteria. They showed that the rate of seizure worsening during the emergency ranged from 4 to 35% and was mainly correlated with epilepsy severity, sleep disturbances and COVID-19-related issues. Our questionnaire was filled in by 222 PwE or caregivers. One hundred (76.6%) reported unchanged clinical conditions, 25 (11.3%) an improvement, and 27 (12%) a deterioration. Reported clinical worsening was associated with a psychiatric condition and/or medication (OR = 12.59, p < 0.001), sleep disorders (OR = 8.41, p = 0.001), limited access to healthcare (OR = 4.71, p = 0.016), and experiencing seizures during the emergency (OR = 4.51, p = 0.007). Telemedicine was considered acceptable by 116 subjects (52.3%). Conclusions: Most PwE did not experience a significant change in their clinical conditions during the COVID-19 emergency. However, severity of epilepsy, concomitant disability, comorbid psychiatric conditions, sleep disorders and limited access to healthcare may affect their health.

6.
Front Neurol ; 11: 587226, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-914438

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Neurological manifestations are emerging as relatively frequent complications of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including stroke and encephalopathy. Clinical characteristics of the latter are heterogeneous and not yet fully elucidated, while the pathogenesis appears related to neuroinflammation in a subset of patients. Case: A middle-aged man presented with acute language disturbance at the emergency department. Examination revealed expressive aphasia, mild ideomotor slowing, and severe hypocapnic hypoxemia. Multimodal CT assessment and electroencephalogram (EEG) did not reveal any abnormalities. COVID-19 was diagnosed based on chest CT findings and positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) on nasopharyngeal swab. The following day, neurological symptoms progressed to agitated delirium and respiratory status worsened, requiring admission to the ICU and mechanical ventilation. Brain MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) studies were unremarkable. RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 on CSF was negative. He received supportive treatment and intravenous low-dose steroids. His neurological and respiratory status resolved completely within 2 weeks. Conclusions: We report a patient with reversible COVID-19-related encephalopathy presenting as acute aphasia, mimicking stroke or status epilepticus, eventually evolving into delirium. Although large-vessel stroke is frequently encountered in COVID-19, our case suggests that focal neurological deficits may occur as the earliest feature of encephalopathy. Neurological status reversibility and the absence of abnormalities on brain MRI are consistent with a functional rather than a structural neuronal network impairment.

7.
J Neurol ; 268(8): 2671-2675, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841658

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To report on efficacy and safety of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy in a case series of patients with COVID-19-related encephalopathy. METHODS: We retrospectively collected data on all patients with COVID-19 hospitalized at two Italian hospitals who developed encephalopathy during disease course and were treated with IVIg. RESULTS: Five patients (two females, mean age 66.8 years) developed encephalopathy after a mean of 12.6 days, since the onset of respiratory/constitutional symptoms related to COVID-19. Four patients suffered severe respiratory distress, three of which required invasive mechanical ventilation. Neurological manifestations included impaired consciousness, agitation, delirium, pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs. EEG demonstrated diffuse slowing in all patients. Brain MRI showed non-specific findings. CSF analysis revealed normal cell count and protein levels. In all subjects, RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 in CSF tested negative. IVIg at 0.4 g/kg/die was commenced 29.8 days (mean, range: 19-55 days) after encephalopathy onset, leading to complete electroclinical recovery in all patients, with an initial improvement of neuropsychiatric symptoms observed in 3.4 days (mean, range: 1-10 days). No adverse events related to IVIg were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary findings suggest that IVIg may represent a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19-associated encephalopathy. Clinical efficacy may be driven by the anti-inflammatory action of IVIg, associated with its anti-cytokine qualities.


Subject(s)
Brain Diseases , COVID-19 , Aged , Brain Diseases/drug therapy , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulins, Intravenous , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
8.
J Neuroimmunol ; 349: 577400, 2020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-792960

ABSTRACT

Encephalopathy is emerging as a recurrent complication of COVID-19 yet remains poorly characterized. We report the case of a middle-aged woman with COVID-19-related encephalopathy presenting as expressive aphasia and inattentiveness, subsequently progressing to agitation and marked confusion. Brain MRI and CSF analysis were unremarkable, while EEG showed slowing with frontal sharp waves. Neuropsychiatric symptoms resolved following treatment with tocilizumab. CNS involvement in COVID-19 may present as a subacute encephalopathy characterized by prominent frontal lobe dysfunction, with language disturbances as first neurological manifestation. Future studies should further investigate the role of tocilizumab in treating COVID-19-related encephalopathy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , Aphasia/etiology , Brain Diseases/virology , COVID-19/complications , Cytokine Release Syndrome/drug therapy , Brain Diseases/drug therapy , Brain Diseases/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Epileptic Disord ; 22(4): 439-442, 2020 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695751

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic shook European healthcare systems, with unavoidable gaps in the management of patients with chronic diseases. We describe the impact of the pandemic on epilepsy care in three tertiary epilepsy centres from Spain and Italy, the most affected European countries. The three epilepsy centres, members of the European EpiCARE network, manage more than 5,700 people with epilepsy. In Bologna and Barcelona, the hospitals housing the epilepsy centres were fully converted into COVID-19 units. We describe the reorganization of the clinics and report on the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 in people with epilepsy as well as the frequency of seizures in patients admitted to the COVID units. Finally, we elaborate on critical issues regarding the second phase of the pandemic. The activities related to epilepsy care were reduced to less than 10% and were deprioritized. Discharges were expedited and elective epilepsy surgeries, including vagal nerve stimulator implantations, cancelled. Hospitalizations and EEG examinations were limited to emergencies. The outpatient visits for new patients were postponed, and follow-up visits mostly managed by telehealth. Antiseizure medication weaning plans and changes in vagal nerve stimulator settings were halted. Among the 5,700 people with epilepsy managed in our centres, only 14 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, without obvious impact on their epilepsy. None of the 2,122 patients admitted to COVID units experienced seizures among the early symptoms. Epilepsy care was negatively impacted by the pandemic, irrespective of COVID-19 epidemiology or conversion of the hospital into a COVID-19 centre. The pandemic did not silence the needs of people with epilepsy, and this must be considered in the planning of the second phase.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Epilepsy/therapy , Health Services Needs and Demand/trends , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Electroencephalography/statistics & numerical data , Epilepsy/complications , Epilepsy/surgery , Europe , Health Services Needs and Demand/statistics & numerical data , Hospital Units/organization & administration , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Italy , Neurosurgical Procedures/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Seizures/epidemiology , Seizures/etiology , Spain , Telemedicine
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