Comparing Neurological Examinations of COVID-19 With Other Viral Infections: Matthew Schindler, MD, PhD


The assistant professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania discussed the similarities observed between the results of neurological exams in patients with COVID-19 vs other respiratory infections. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"When you're seeing patients on the inpatient service, you can kind of approach it just like you would in any other virally infected patient. Things such as a encephalopathy, or particularly a toxic metabolic encephalopathy, with more severe infections, we commonly see this, and that independent of whether it was COVID-19, or another infection, another virus. That was sort of the predominant thing that we saw."

At the 2022 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 2-7, in Seattle, Washington, data were presented from a retrospective chart analysis aimed to determine whether inpatient neurological consultations differ between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 respiratory infections. Although neurological consultations are common for viral-mediated disease, neurologists are still figuring out whether consultation of patients with COVID-19 should be altered. To do so, investigators compared the reasons for neurologic consultation and final diagnosis of 62 patients with COVID-19 between March 2020 and April 2021 to 56 patients with non-COVID respiratory virus between January 2019 and January 2020.

Non-COVID-19 respiratory viruses included Influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, and adenovirus. Using a frequency and means analysis, the study investigators concluded that stroke was the only diagnosis more common among patients with COVID-19 compared to the rest of the sample (14% vs 9%). Neurology was consulted significantly later in the hospital course of COVID-19 (3.1 vs 0.96 days), despite a higher mortality in the other population (30% vs 19%).

Senior investigator Matthew Schindler, MD, believes these results may help guide neurologists when conducting neurological examinations for patients with COVID-19. Schindler, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, sat down with NeurologyLive® at AAN 2022 to discuss the reasons behind conducting the study, as well as some of the biggest take-home points clinicians of which should be aware.

Click here for more coverage of AAN 2022.

1. Emmert B, Gandelman S, Do D, Schindler M. A single center, retrospective analysis of inpatient neurologic consultations of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Presented at: 2022 AAN Annual Meeting; April 2-7; Seattle, Washington. Abstract 3171.
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