6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236,379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records

The study titled “6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236,379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records” provides important insights into the neurological and psychiatric effects of COVID-19.

Here’s a summary:

Background: Despite reports of neurological and psychiatric sequelae from COVID-19, comprehensive data on these effects were lacking. This study aimed to provide detailed incidence rates and risks of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses among COVID-19 patients within six months of diagnosis​​.

Methodology: Utilizing the TriNetX Analytics Network, which includes electronic health records from 62 U.S. healthcare organizations, researchers studied a primary cohort of 236,379 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. This cohort was compared with two control groups: patients with influenza and those with other respiratory tract infections​​.

Key Findings:

  • Approximately 33.62% of COVID-19 patients received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months, with 12.84% receiving their first such diagnosis.
  • The incidence rates were higher in patients with more severe COVID-19. For those admitted to an Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), the rate of neurological or psychiatric diagnosis was 46.42%, and 25.79% received their first diagnosis.
  • Common diagnoses included intracranial haemorrhage, ischaemic stroke, parkinsonism, dementia, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders. Incidences were generally higher among the more severely affected COVID-19 patients​​.
  • Compared to influenza and other respiratory infections, COVID-19 patients had higher risks of such diagnoses, as indicated by hazard ratios (HRs) of 1.44 and 1.16 respectively for any diagnosis, and 1.78 and 1.32 for any first diagnosis​​.

Implications:

  • This study provides the first substantial data on the risks of major neurological and psychiatric conditions in the six months following a COVID-19 diagnosis. The findings underscore the significant impact of COVID-19 on brain health, beyond the immediate respiratory symptoms.
  • Given the chronic nature of many of these conditions, like dementia and stroke, these findings suggest considerable implications for health and social care systems. They highlight the need for enhanced neurological follow-up, especially for patients with severe COVID-19 or those who experienced encephalopathy during their illness​​.

This study is a pivotal contribution to understanding COVID-19’s long-term effects, emphasizing the need for ongoing healthcare support and research into post-infection complications.

Read More: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2215-0366%2821%2900084-5

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