New York, March 31
Some hospitalized patients with Covid-19 experience non-convulsive seizures, which may put them at a higher risk of dying, suggests a new study.
The study, published in the Annals of Neurology, suggests that neurological complications may be an important contributor to the morbidity and mortality associated with Covid-19.
“Most of these seizures are not obvious: Unlike seizures that make a person fall down and shake, or convulse, seizures in critically ill patients are usually nonconvulsive,” said researcher M. Brandon Westover from the Massachusetts General Hospital.
“There is increasing evidence that non-convulsive seizures can damage the brain and make outcomes worse, similar to convulsions,” Westover added.
For the study, the team analyzed medical information for 197 hospitalized patients with Covid-19 who underwent electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring — tests that detect electrical activity of the brain using small metal discs attached to the scalp.
The EEG tests detected nonconvulsive seizures in 9.6 per cent of patients, some of whom had no prior neurological problems.
Patients who had seizures needed to be hospitalized for a longer time, and they were four times more likely to die while in the hospital than patients without seizures — suggesting that neurological complications may be an important contributor to the morbidity and mortality associated with Covid-19.