Infections with coronaviruses are not always confined to the respiratory tract and various neurological manifestations have been reported. The aim of this study was to perform a review to describe neurological manifestations in patients with COVID‐19 and possible neuro‐invasive mechanisms of Sars‐CoV‐2.
Pubmed, WebOfScience and Covid‐dedicated databases were searched for the combination of COVID‐19 terminology and neurology terminology up to May 10th 2020. Social media channels were followed‐up between March 15th and May 10th 2020 for postings with the same scope. Neurological manifestations were extracted from the identified manuscripts and combined to provide a useful summary for the neurologist in clinical practice.
Neurological manifestations potentially related to COVID‐19 have been reported in large studies, case series and case reports and include acute cerebrovascular diseases, impaired consciousness, cranial nerve manifestations and auto‐immune disorders such as Guillain‐Barré Syndrome often present in patients with more severe COVID‐19. Cranial nerve symptoms such as olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions are highly prevalent in patients with mild‐to‐moderate COVID‐19 even without associated nasal symptoms and often present in an early stage of the disease.
Physicians should be aware of the neurological manifestations in patients with COVID‐19, especially when rapid clinical deterioration occurs. The neurological symptoms in COVID‐19 patients may be due to direct viral neurological injury or indirect neuroinflammatory and autoimmune mechanisms. No antiviral treatments against the virus or vaccines for its prevention are available and the long‐term consequences of the infection on human health remain uncertain especially with regards to the neurological system.