Scientific data regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 neurological manifestations and prognosis in Latin America countries is still lacking. Therefore, the study aims to understand neurological manifestations of SARS-CoV 2 infection in the Brazilian population and its association with patient outcomes, such as in-hospital mortality.
This study is part of the Brazilian COVID-19 Registry, a multicentric COVID-19 cohort, including data from 37 Brazilian hospitals. For the analysis, patients were grouped according to the presence of self-reported vs. clinically-diagnosed neurological manifestations and matched with patients without neurological manifestations by age, sex, number of comorbidities, hospital, and whether or not patients ha neurological underlying disease.
From 7,232 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, 27.8% presented self-reported neurological manifestations, 9.9% were diagnosed with a clinically-defined neurological syndrome and 1.2% did not show any neurological symptoms. In patients with self-reported symptoms, the most common ones were headache (19.3%), ageusia (10.4%) and anosmia (7.4%). Meanwhile, in the group with clinically-defined neurological syndromes, acute encephalopathy was the most common diagnosis (10.5%), followed by coma (0.6%1) and seizures (0.4%). Men and younger patients were more likely to self-report neurological symptoms, while women and older patients were more likely to develop a neurological syndrome. Patients with clinically-defined neurological syndromes presented a higher prevalence of comorbidities, as well as lower oxygen saturation and blood pressure at hospital admission. In the paired analysis, it was observed that patients with clinically-defined neurological syndromes were more likely to require ICU admission (46.9 vs. 37.9%), mechanical ventilation (33.4 vs. 28.2%), to develop acute heart failure (5.1 vs. 3.0%, p=0.037) and to die (40.7 vs. 32.3%, p<0.001) when compared to controls.
Neurological manifestations are an important cause of morbidity in COVID-19 patients. More specifically, patients with clinically defined neurological syndromes presented a poorer prognosis for the disease when compared to matched controls.