Eight of 10 hospitalized COVID-19 patients developed neurological complications, making them six times more likely to die, as reported by the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
Nearly half the patients had acute encephalopathy (altered brain function), 17% were in a coma and 6% had strokes. In all, 82% reported having neurologic symptoms, 37% were having headaches and 26% said they lost their sense of taste or smell.
Neurologic conditions of any kind — including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and diseases of the brain, spinal cord and nerves — were the strongest precursors of COVID-19-related complications and doubled the risk of neurologic side effects, according to researchers.
Data also show that the risk of dying was six times greater for patients with coronavirus-related neurologic symptoms, ranging from loss of smell to stroke.
Acute encephalopathy is by far the most common neurologic issue lead study author Dr. Sherry Chou sees among COVID-19 patients.
“Those patients may be in an altered sensory state or have impaired consciousness, or they don’t feel like themselves and act confused, delirious or agitated,” she said.