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Neurologic Symptoms Associated with COVID-19

October 26, 2022

Although SARS-CoV-2 infection is most commonly associated with repiratory symptoms, some patients will have symptoms reflecting involvement of other organ systems.

Dr. James Antoon and colleagues from Vanderbilt University and Children’s Hospital Association analyzed hospital admission data from more than 15,000 children to determine the proportion that experienced neurologic symptoms. Their article, entitled “COVID-19 and Acute Neurologic Complications in Children,” is being early released this week by Pediatrics (10.1542/peds.2022-058167).

The authors found that 7% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 infection had a neurologic complication, the most common being febrile (3.9%) or non-febrile (2.3%) seizures and encephalopathy (2.2%). Children with neurologic complications were more likely to experience longer length of hospital stay, ICU admission, hospital readmission within 30 days, death, and increased hospital costs.

Children who were older, who were infected during a period when the delta variant was not prominent, and those who had a history of a chronic neurologic condition were more likely to experience a neurologic complication of their COVID-19 infection.

While the myriad manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection continue to surprise us, we continue to learn more about this virus. Read this article to familiarize yourself with the epidemiology and presentation of these neurologic complications, so that you aren’t surprised when a patient presents with seizures or encephalopathic symptoms and has a positive COVID-19 test.

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