Original Research

Neurological and neuropsychiatric manifestations in hospitalised patients with COVID-19

Gondah Lekpeh, Muneeb Salie, Leigh L. van den Heuvel, Soraya Seedat
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2112 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2112 | © 2023 Gondah Lekpeh, Muneeb Salie, Leigh L. van den Heuvel, Soraya Seedat | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 May 2023 | Published: 13 November 2023

About the author(s)

Gondah Lekpeh, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Muneeb Salie, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Leigh L. van den Heuvel, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Soraya Seedat, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Although literature globally indicates varied neurological and/or neuropsychiatric manifestations (NNM) and complications associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), information about NNM in infected hospitalised patients on the African continent remains limited.

Aim: To describe the presentation of NNM and compare patients with and without NNM considering demographic and clinical profiles, treatment, and outcomes.

Setting: Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.

Methods: Retrospective medical record review of the first 100 consecutively admitted COVID-19 patients (64 females, mean age 47.6 years) between March and June 2020.

Results: Of the 98 patients included in the analysis, 56.1% had at least one NNM. The most common NNM were myalgia (32.7%), headache (21.4%), loss of smell and/or taste (15.3%), and delirium (10.2%). Patients with and without NNM did not differ with respect to demographic characteristics. Patients with NNM had significantly more constitutional symptoms (p = 0.017) and were more likely to have neurological and/or neuropsychiatric comorbid conditions (10.9% vs. 0.0%, p = 0.033) than those without NNM. Patients without documented NNM were more likely to have abnormalities on chest X-ray (p = 0.009) than those with NNM. Coronavirus disease 2019 related treatment and mortality did not differ between the groups.

Conclusion: Neurological and/or neuropsychiatric manifestations were common in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. The results suggest that while COVID-19 patients with NNM may have less of a respiratory phenotype they nonetheless have equivalent mortality rates.

Contribution: This study highlights the common NNM in patients with COVID-19 admitted to Tygerberg Hospital early in the pandemic and adds to the growing evidence of COVID-19 NNM.


Keywords

COVID-19; neurological manifestations; neuropsychiatric manifestations; respiratory; hospitalised.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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