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Epilepsia ; 63(9): 2279-2289, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1916134


OBJECTIVE: Data on COVID-19 outcomes in persons with epilepsy (PWE) are scarce and inconclusive. We aimed to study the risk of hospitalization and death for COVID-19 in a large cohort of PWE from March 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021. METHODS: The historical cohort design (EpiLink Bologna) compared adult PWE grouped into people with focal epilepsy (PFE), idiopathic generalized epilepsy (PIGE), and developmental and/or epileptic encephalopathy (PDEE), and a population cohort matched (ratio 1:10) for age, sex, residence, and comorbidity (assessed with the multisource comorbidity score), living in the local health trust of Bologna (approximately 800 000 residents). Clinical data were linked to health administrative data. RESULTS: In both cohorts (EpiLink: n = 1575 subjects, 1128 PFE, 267 PIGE, 148 PDEE, 32 other; controls: n = 15 326 subjects), 52% were females, and the mean age was 50 years (SD = 18). Hospital admissions for COVID-19 in the whole period were 49 (3.1%) in PWE and 225 (1.5%) in controls. The adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) in PWE was 1.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4-2.7). The subgroups at higher risk were PFE (aHR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3-2.8) and PDEE (aHR = 3.9, 95% CI = 1.7-8.7), whereas PIGE had a risk comparable to the controls (aHR = 1.1, 95% CI = .3-3.5). Stratified analyses of the two main epidemic waves (March-May 2020, October 2020-May 2021) disclosed a higher risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization during the first epidemic wave (March-May 2020; aHR = 3.8, 95% CI = 2.2-6.7). Polytherapy with antiseizure medications contributed to a higher risk of hospital admission. Thirty-day risk of death after hospitalization was 14% in both PWE and controls. SIGNIFICANCE: During the first 20 months since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Bologna, PWE had a doubled risk of COVID-19 hospital admission compared to a matched control population. Conversely, epilepsy did not represent a risk factor for COVID-19-related death.

COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Comorbidity , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
Front Neurol ; 11: 587226, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-914438


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.

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


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.

Brain Diseases , COVID-19 , Aged , Brain Diseases/drug therapy , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulins, Intravenous , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2