Some Hospitalized COVID Patients Develop Seizures

THURSDAY April 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – COVID-19 can damage several organs in the body, including the brain. Now, a new study indicates that some COVID-19 hospital patients have non-convulsive seizures that may increase their risk of death.

“Seizures are a very common complication of serious serious illness. Most of these seizures are not obvious: unlike seizures that cause a person to fall and tremble, or convulse, seizures in critically ill patients are usually non-convulsive. “said the co-study. author Dr M. Brandon Westover, associate professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“There is growing evidence that non-convulsive seizures can damage the brain and worsen outcomes, similar to seizures,” Westover said in a hospital press release.

There have not been many reports of seizures in patients with severe COVID-19. Westover and his colleagues wanted to know if they mainly occur in patients with pre-existing seizure disorders or if they may be triggered for the first time by the virus and how these seizures affect patients with COVID-19.

To find answers, they analyzed data from nearly 200 COVID patients hospitalized at nine facilities in North America and Europe who underwent electroencephalogram (EEG) tests to assess the electrical activity of their brains.

The tests detected non-convulsive seizures in about 10% of the patients, some of whom had no previous neurological problems. Compared to those without seizures, patients who had seizures were hospitalized longer and were four times more likely to die in hospital.

Although only an association was found and not a cause and effect link, the results suggest that neurological complications may be a significant contributor to illness and death associated with COVID, according to the study authors. The results were recently published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

Study co-author and neurologist Dr Mouhsin Shafi, medical director of the EEG lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said the results suggest COVID patients should be closely monitored for non-convulsive seizures. .

“Treatments are available and warranted in high-risk patients; however, more research is needed to clarify how to aggressively treat COVID-19 attacks,” Shafi said in the statement. He is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

More information

Johns Hopkins Medicine has more on how COVID-19 affects the brain.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, press release, March 30, 2021

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