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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: 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.

6.
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
7.
Neurol Sci ; 41(12): 3385-3389, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-812576

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown came as a storm disrupting people's everyday life. This study aimed at observing whether the COVID-19 related lockdown influenced migraine frequency and disability in migraine patients on therapy with monoclonal antibodies inhibiting the CGRP pathway. METHODS: In this longitudinal observational cohort study, 147 consecutive patients receiving monthly administration of erenumab or galcanezumab were enrolled in four Italian headache centers. All patients filled a questionnaire concerning working and household settings, recent flu symptoms or COVID-19 diagnosis, and family loss due to COVID-19 infection. Monthly migraine days (MMDs), monthly painkiller intake (MPI), and HIT-6 disability relative to the first month of lockdown imposition (T-lock) and the month before (T-free) were also collected. RESULTS: From T-free to T-lock, the cohort displayed a reduction in MMDs (from 10.5 ± 7.6 to 9.8 ± 7.6, p = .024) and HIT-6 scores (from 59.3 ± 8.3 men reduced MPI more frequently than women (p = .005). CONCLUSIONS: Our study observed that the lockdown impact to 57.8 ± 8.8, p = .009), while MPI resulted unchanged (from 11.6 ± 11.5 to 11.1 ± 11.7; p = .114). MMDs, MPI, and HIT-6 variations from T-free to T-lock did not differ according to work settings or household. Patients beyond the first 3 months of therapy presented less often a reduction in MMDs (p = .006) and on everyday life did not affect the migraine load in patients receiving monoclonal antibodies inhibiting the CGRP pathway. Patients in the first months of therapy experienced a greater improvement according to drug pharmacokinetics, while women more frequently needed rescue medications, possibly indicating presenteeism or cephalalgophobia.


Subject(s)
Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Migraine Disorders/drug therapy , Migraine Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Quarantine/psychology , Adult , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Surveys and Questionnaires
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
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