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This article is the author’s final published version in BMC Neurology, Volume 21, Issue 1, December 2021, Article number 116.

The published version is available at Copyright © Amanat et al.


BACKGROUNDS: The reports of neurological symptoms are increasing in cases with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This multi-center prospective study was conducted to determine the incidence of neurological manifestations in hospitalized cases with COVID-19 and assess these symptoms as the predictors of severity and death.

METHODS: Hospitalized males and females with COVID-19 who aged over 18 years were included in the study. They were examined by two neurologists at the time of admission. All survived cases were followed for 8 weeks after discharge and 16 weeks if their symptoms had no improvements.

RESULTS: We included 873 participants. Of eligible cases, 122 individuals (13.97%) died during hospitalization. The most common non-neurological manifestations were fever (81.1%), cough (76.1%), fatigue (36.1%), and shortness of breath (27.6%). Aging, male gender, co-morbidity, smoking, hemoptysis, chest tightness, and shortness of breath were associated with increased odds of severe cases and/or mortality. There were 561 (64.3%) cases with smell and taste dysfunctions (hyposmia: 58.6%; anosmia: 41.4%; dysguesia: 100%). They were more common among females (69.7%) and non-smokers (66.7%). Hyposmia/anosmia and dysgeusia were found to be associated with reduced odds of severe cases and mortality. Myalgia (24.8%), headaches (12.6%), and dizziness (11.9%) were other common neurological symptoms. Headaches had negative correlation with severity and death due to COVID-19 but myalgia and dizziness were not associated. The cerebrovascular events (n = 10) and status epilepticus (n = 1) were other neurological findings. The partial or full recovery of smell and taste dysfunctions was found in 95.2% after 8 weeks and 97.3% after 16 weeks. The parosmia (30.9%) and phantosmia (9.0%) were also reported during 8 weeks of follow-up. Five cases with mild headaches and 5 cases with myalgia were reported after 16 weeks of discharge. The demyelinating myelitis (n = 1) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (n = 1) were also found during follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Neurological symptoms were found to be prevalent among individuals with COVID-19 disease and should not be under-estimated during the current pandemic outbreak.

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