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Lung CT and brain MR could help predict COVID-19-related neurological conditions in advance

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 19, 2021
Alzheimers/Neurology CT MRI X-Ray
Lung CT scans may provide information on the severity of COVID-19-related neurological conditions before they appear on brain MR scans
Lung CT scans may be able to disclose the severity of COVID-19-related neurological problems before they show up on brain MRs.

That’s what a group of international researchers found in their study on the virus, which will be presented at the 59th annual meeting of the American Society of Neuroradiology.

“We’ve seen patients with COVID-19 experience stroke, brain bleeds and other disorders affecting the brain. So, we’re finding, through patient experiences, that neurological symptoms are correlating to those with more severe respiratory disease. However, little information has been available on identifying potential associations between imaging abnormalities in the brain and lungs in COVID-19 patients,” said radiologist Dr. Abdelkader Mahammedi, assistant professor of radiology at UC Health and a member of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute in Cincinnati, in a statement.

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Mahammedi and his colleagues found that lung CT scans provided insight that enabled physicians to predict the severity of neurological conditions that may appear on brain MRs for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Along with researchers in Spain, Italy and Brazil, UC physicians reviewed the EMRs and images of COVID-19 patients hospitalized from March 3 to June 25, 2020. All patients whose information was evaluated experienced neurological issues and had both lung and brain images available. Of the 135 with abnormal CT lung scans and neurological symptoms, 49 (36%) developed abnormal brain scans and were more likely to experience stroke symptoms.

The findings, according to Mahammedi, may enable physicians to identify symptoms for earlier treatment, which could possibly lead to better outcomes for patients.

“Future larger studies are needed to help us understand the tie better, but for now, we hope these results can be used to help predict care and ensure that patients have the best outcomes,” he said.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

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