Neuroimaging Findings of Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients: A Canadian Retrospective Observational Study
Can Assoc Radiol J
PURPOSE: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been associated with neurologic sequelae and neuroimaging abnormalities in several case series previously. In this study, the neuroimaging findings and clinical course of adult patients admitted with COVID-19 to a tertiary care hospital network in Canada were characterized. METHODS: This is a retrospective observational study conducted at a tertiary hospital network in Ontario, Canada. All adult patients with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 admitted from February 1, 2020 to July 22, 2020 who received neuroimaging related to their COVID-19 admission were included. CT and MR images were reviewed and categorized by fellowship-trained neuroradiologists. Demographic and clinical data were collected and correlated with imaging findings. RESULTS: We identified 422 patients admitted with COVID-19 during the study period. 103 (24.4%) met the inclusion criteria and were included: 30 ICU patients (29.1%) and 73 non-ICU patients (70.9%). A total of 198 neuroimaging studies were performed: 177 CTs and 21 MRIs. 17 out of 103 imaged patients (16.8%) had acute abnormalities on neuroimaging: 10 had macrohemorrhages (58.8%), 9 had acute ischemia (52.9%), 4 had SWI abnormalities (23.5%), and 1 had asymmetric sulcal effacement suggesting possible focal encephalitis (5.8%). ICU patients were more likely to have positive neuroimaging findings, more specifically acute ischemia and macrohemorrhages (P < 0.05). Macrohemorrhages were associated with increased mortality (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Macrohemorrhages, acute ischemia and SWI abnormalities were the main neuroimaging abnormalities in our cohort of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Acute ischemia and hemorrhage were associated with worse clinical status.