Subacute Cognitive Impairment in Individuals With Mild and Moderate COVID-19: A Case Series. Frontiers in Neurology. 2021;12


HPRU-EZI Authors - Solomon, Tom


Background: Previous reported neurologic sequelae associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection have mainly been confined to hospital-based patients in which viral detection was restricted to nasal/throat swabs or to IgM/IgG peripheral blood serology. Here we describe seven cases from Brazil of outpatients with previous mild or moderate COVID-19 who developed subacute cognitive disturbances. Methods: From June 1 to August 15, 2020, seven individuals 18 to 60 years old, with confirmed mild/moderate COVID-19 and findings consistent with encephalopathy who were observed >7 days after respiratory symptom initiation, were screened for cognitive dysfunction. Paired sera and CSF were tested for SARS-CoV-2 (IgA, IgG ELISA, and RT-PCR). Serum and intrathecal antibody dynamics were evaluated with oligoclonal bands and IgG index. Cognitive dysfunction was assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and the Clock Drawing Test (CDT). Results: All but one of our patients were female, and the mean age was 42.6 years. Neurologic symptoms were first reported a median of 16 days (IQR 15–33) after initial COVID-19 symptoms. All patients had headache and altered behavior. Cognitive dysfunction was observed mainly in phonemic verbal fluency (MoCA) with a median of six words/min (IQR 5.25–10.75) and altered visuospatial construction with a median of four points (IQR 4–9) (CDT). CSF pleocytosis was not detected, and only one patient was positive for SARS-Co Conclusions: A subacute cognitive syndrome suggestive of SARS-CoV-2-initiated damage to cortico-subcortical associative pathways that could not be attributed solely to inflammation and hypoxia was present in seven individuals with mild/moderate COVID-19.


Frontiers in Neurology

Research Themes:

1. Patient Research for Public Health