Fellows’ Journal Club

This was a retrospective study performed at a large academic hospital in the United States. A total of 641 patients presented to the authors’ institution between March 3, 2020 and May 6, 2020, for treatment of coronavirus disease 2019, of whom, 150 underwent CT and/or MR imaging of the brain. CT and/or MR imaging examinations were evaluated for the presence of hemorrhage, infarction, and leukoencephalopathy. Of the 150 patients, 26 (17%) had abnormal CT and/or MR imaging findings, with hemorrhage in 11 of the patients (42%), infarction in 13 of the patients (50%), and leukoencephalopathy in 7 of the patients (27%). Significant associations were seen between abnormal CT/MR imaging findings and intensive care unit admission, intubation, and acute kidney injury.

Abstract

Figure 1 from Yoon et al
Examples of intracranial hemorrhages in patients with COVID-19. A, An axial noncontrast CT of a 42-year-old man demonstrates an acute intraparenchymal hematoma in the right cerebellar hemisphere, with severe mass effect and effacement of the fourth ventricle; multiple areas of layering hemorrhage are seen within the hematoma (arrow), suggestive of an underlying coagulopathy. B, Noncontrast CT of an 84-year-old woman after a fall shows scattered, curvilinear hyperdensities along the right superior frontal sulcus and left central sulcus, most consistent with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage. C, SWI of a 41-year-old man demonstrates scattered foci of susceptibility effect in the bilateral frontal and parietal lobes (arrow), most consistent with microhemorrhages.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is increasingly being recognized for its multiorgan involvement, including various neurological manifestations. We examined the frequency of acute intracranial abnormalities seen on CT and/or MR imaging in patients with COVID-19 and investigated possible associations between these findings and clinical parameters, including length of hospital stay, requirement for intubation, and development of acute kidney injury.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

This was a retrospective study performed at a large academic hospital in the United States. A total of 641 patients presented to our institution between March 3, 2020, and May 6, 2020, for treatment of coronavirus disease 2019, of whom, 150 underwent CT and/or MR imaging of the brain. CT and/or MR imaging examinations were evaluated for the presence of hemorrhage, infarction, and leukoencephalopathy. The frequency of these findings was correlated with clinical variables, including body mass index, length of hospital stay, requirement for intubation, and development of acute kidney injury as documented in the electronic medical record.

RESULTS

Of the 150 patients, 26 (17%) had abnormal CT and/or MR imaging findings, with hemorrhage in 11 of the patients (42%), infarction in 13 of the patients (50%), and leukoencephalopathy in 7 of the patients (27%). Significant associations were seen between abnormal CT/MR imaging findings and intensive care unit admission (P = .039), intubation (P = .004), and acute kidney injury (P = .030).

CONCLUSIONS

A spectrum of acute neuroimaging abnormalities was seen in our cohort of patients with coronavirus disease 2019, including hemorrhage, infarction, and leukoencephalopathy. Significant associations between abnormal neuroimaging studies and markers of disease severity (intensive care unit admission, intubation, and acute kidney injury) suggest that patients with severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019 may have higher rates of neuroimaging abnormalities.

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