Altered mental state and issues such as speech and vision problems were among the most common reasons the brain scans were conducted.
A little more than one in five of the 81 patients who had brain scans showed emergency or critical results. They included strokes, blocked blood vessels and brain bleeds. Preexisting conditions of hypertension and/or Type 2 diabetes were found among at least half of the patients and three patients who had emergency or critical results died during hospitalization.
“COVID-19 is associated with neurologic manifestations, and hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus are common in individuals who develop these manifestations,” Freeman said. “These populations may be at higher risk for neurologic complications and should be monitored closely.”
Freeman noted the study, in which two-thirds of the critical-result patients were Black, is ongoing. As more data comes in, researchers will publish results.
“In addition, we have plans to initiate a larger prospective study evaluating delayed, long-term, and chronic neurologic manifestations that may not be known in this early period in the pandemic,” Freeman said.