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Neurology ; 96(11): e1527-e1538, 2021 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1028513


OBJECTIVE: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is protean in its manifestations, affecting nearly every organ system. However, nervous system involvement and its effect on disease outcome are poorly characterized. The objective of this study was to determine whether neurologic syndromes are associated with increased risk of inpatient mortality. METHODS: A total of 581 hospitalized patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, neurologic involvement, and brain imaging were compared to hospitalized non-neurologic patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Four patterns of neurologic manifestations were identified: acute stroke, new or recrudescent seizures, altered mentation with normal imaging, and neuro-COVID-19 complex. Factors present on admission were analyzed as potential predictors of in-hospital mortality, including sociodemographic variables, preexisting comorbidities, vital signs, laboratory values, and pattern of neurologic manifestations. Significant predictors were incorporated into a disease severity score. Patients with neurologic manifestations were matched with patients of the same age and disease severity to assess the risk of death. RESULTS: A total of 4,711 patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were admitted to one medical system in New York City during a 6-week period. Of these, 581 (12%) had neurologic issues of sufficient concern to warrant neuroimaging. These patients were compared to 1,743 non-neurologic patients with COVID-19 matched for age and disease severity admitted during the same period. Patients with altered mentation (n = 258, p = 0.04, odds ratio [OR] 1.39, confidence interval [CI] 1.04-1.86) or radiologically confirmed stroke (n = 55, p = 0.001, OR 3.1, CI 1.65-5.92) had a higher risk of mortality than age- and severity-matched controls. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of altered mentation or stroke on admission predicts a modest but significantly higher risk of in-hospital mortality independent of disease severity. While other biomarker factors also predict mortality, measures to identify and treat such patients may be important in reducing overall mortality of COVID-19.

COVID-19/mortality , Confusion/physiopathology , Consciousness Disorders/physiopathology , Hospital Mortality , Stroke/physiopathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Ageusia/epidemiology , Ageusia/physiopathology , Anosmia/epidemiology , Anosmia/physiopathology , Ataxia/epidemiology , Ataxia/physiopathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Confusion/epidemiology , Consciousness Disorders/epidemiology , Cranial Nerve Diseases/epidemiology , Cranial Nerve Diseases/physiopathology , Delirium/epidemiology , Delirium/physiopathology , Female , Headache/epidemiology , Headache/physiopathology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Paresthesia/epidemiology , Paresthesia/physiopathology , Primary Dysautonomias/epidemiology , Primary Dysautonomias/physiopathology , Recurrence , SARS-CoV-2 , Seizures/epidemiology , Seizures/physiopathology , Stroke/epidemiology , Vertigo/epidemiology , Vertigo/physiopathology
Epilepsia ; 62(1): 41-50, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-951116


OBJECTIVE: Our epilepsy population recently experienced the acute effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Herein, we aimed to determine patient-perceived seizure control during the surge, specific variables associated with worsened seizures, the prevalence of specific barriers to care, and patient-perceived efficacy of epilepsy care delivered via telephone and live video visits during the pandemic. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional questionnaire study of adult epilepsy patients who had a scheduled appointment at a single urban Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (Montefiore Medical Center) between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bronx. Subjects able to answer the questionnaire themselves in English or Spanish were eligible to complete a one-time survey via telephone or secure online platform (REDCap). RESULTS: Of 1212 subjects screened, 675 were eligible, and 177 adequately completed the questionnaire. During the COVID-19 pandemic, 75.1% of patients reported no change in seizure control, whereas 17.5% reported that their seizure control had worsened, and 7.3% reported improvement. Subjects who reported worsened seizure control had more frequent seizures at baseline, were more likely to identify stress and headaches/migraines as their typical seizure precipitants, and were significantly more likely to report increased stress related to the pandemic. Subjects with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 did not report worsened seizure control. Nearly 17% of subjects reported poorer epilepsy care, and 9.6% had difficulty obtaining their antiseizure medications; these subjects were significantly more likely to report worse seizure control. SIGNIFICANCE: Of the nearly 20% of subjects who reported worsened seizure control during the COVID-19 pandemic, stress and barriers to care appear to have posed the greatest challenge. This unprecedented pandemic exacerbated existing and created new barriers to epilepsy care, which must be addressed.

Attitude to Health , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/psychology , Epilepsy/psychology , Epilepsy/therapy , Health Services Accessibility , Stress, Psychological/complications , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Urban Population , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use , Cross-Sectional Studies , Epilepsy/complications , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , New York City , Patient Satisfaction , Remote Consultation , Surveys and Questionnaires , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
Epilepsia Open ; 5(2): 314-324, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-601458


OBJECTIVE: Acute encephalopathy may occur in COVID-19-infected patients. We investigated whether medically indicated EEGs performed in acutely ill patients under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 report epileptiform abnormalities and whether these are more prevalent in COVID-19 positive than negative patients. METHODS: In this retrospective case series, adult COVID-19 inpatient PUIs underwent EEGs for acute encephalopathy and/or seizure-like events. PUIs had 8-channel headband EEGs (Ceribell; 20 COVID-19 positive, 6 COVID-19 negative); 2 more COVID-19 patients had routine EEGs. Overall, 26 Ceribell EEGs, 4 routine and 7 continuous EEG studies were reviewed. EEGs were interpreted by board-certified clinical neurophysiologists (n = 16). EEG findings were correlated with demographic data, clinical presentation and history, and medication usage. Fisher's exact test was used. RESULTS: We included 28 COVID-19 PUIs (30-83 years old), of whom 22 tested positive (63.6% males) and 6 tested negative (33.3% male). The most common indications for EEG, among COVID-19-positive vs COVID-19-negative patients, respectively, were new onset encephalopathy (68.2% vs 33.3%) and seizure-like events (14/22, 63.6%; 2/6, 33.3%), even among patients without prior history of seizures (11/17, 64.7%; 2/6, 33.3%). Sporadic epileptiform discharges (EDs) were present in 40.9% of COVID-19-positive and 16.7% of COVID-19-negative patients; frontal sharp waves were reported in 8/9 (88.9%) of COVID-19-positive patients with EDs and in 1/1 of COVID-19-negative patient with EDs. No electrographic seizures were captured, but 19/22 COVID-19-positive and 6/6 COVID-19-negative patients were given antiseizure medications and/or sedatives before the EEG. SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first preliminary report of EDs in the EEG of acutely ill COVID-19-positive patients with encephalopathy or suspected clinical seizures. EDs are relatively common in this cohort and typically appear as frontal sharp waves. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and evaluate the potential direct or indirect effects of COVID-19 on activating epileptic activity.