By Stuart Bernstein
Development of neurological symptoms and conditions in COVID-19 patients is causing increasing concern for healthcare and frontline workers treating emergent cases.
While respiratory symptoms are the primary presentation of COVID-19, several recent studies have revealed prevalence of encephalopathy, headaches, dizziness and even stroke among confirmed COVID patients across multiple stages of diagnosis and treatment.
An Oxford University study published in The Lancet found that, in patients with no previous psychiatric history, COVID-19 diagnosis was associated with increased incidence of a first diagnosis of a psychiatric condition such as an anxiety disorder, insomnia or dementia in the following 14 to 90 days. A separate study published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology looked at patients in a Chicago hospital network and revealed that neurologic manifestations including myalgias, headaches, encephalopathy and dizziness, occur in most hospitalized COVID-19 patients – with 42% of symptoms present at onset, 62% during hospitalization and 82% at any time during the disease course.
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Sudden onset of seizures, metabolic encephalopathy, stroke and other neurological conditions can negatively impact COVID patient outcomes and morbidity rates. Growing evidence of the commonality of neurological symptoms in COVID patients, coupled with challenges in accessibility, efficiency and sanitation of EEG administration reveals an urgent need for broader access to disposable neurological testing equipment.
Disposable EEG headsets offer a solution which can be integrated easily into current standard-of-care and pair with clinical-grade EEG devices to acquire, record, transmit and display a patient’s electrical brain activity. Disposable equipment for neurological testing is well-positioned to address several challenges facing hospitals and urgent care facilities today.
● Accessibility –
In most healthcare settings, performing an EEG of any kind requires the presence of a licensed technician who can place individual electrodes on the patient’s head, run the scan and analyze results. While many cases may eventually require more complex testing and intervention from these specialized technicians, these professionals might not always be available at intake or if a patient’s condition changes rapidly in an emergency room or clinic setting. Disposable EEG headsets with pre-arranged electrodes have a relatively shallow learning curve and can be applied quickly easily by healthcare professionals once they are familiar with the devices. Once attending physicians and nurses are comfortable using these headsets, a technician isn’t always required to run tests at the onset of symptoms, allowing doctors to react more quickly to assess conditions and make treatment decisions. By introducing headsets that a wider array of healthcare workers can use, EEG technicians and neurology specialists can remain available to attend to more complicated cases and procedures.