Early neurological manifestations of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Veria Vacchiano, P. Riguzzi, L. Volpi, M. Tappatà, P. Avoni, G. Rizzo, L. Guerra, S. Zaccaroni, P. Cortelli, R. Michelucci, R. Liguori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Neurological manifestations can occur during coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). Several pathogenic mechanisms have been hypothesized, without conclusive results. In this study, we evaluated the most frequent neurological symptoms in a cohort of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and also investigated the possible relationship between plasmatic inflammatory indices and olfactory disorders (ODs) and between muscle pain and creatine kinase (CK). Methods: We consecutively enrolled hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A structured questionnaire concerning typical and neurological symptoms, focusing on headache, dizziness, ODs, taste disorders (TDs), and muscle pain, was administrated by telephone interviews. Results: Common neurological symptoms were reported in the early phase of the disease, with a median onset ranging from 1 to 3 days. Headache showed tension-type features and was more frequently associated with a history of headache. Patients with ODs less frequently needed oxygen therapy. Inflammatory indices did not significantly differ between patients with and without ODs. Muscle pain did not show any association with CK level but was more frequently associated with arthralgia and headache. Conclusion: In our cohort, ODs were an early symptom of COVID-19, more frequently reported by patients with milder forms of disease. Headache in association with arthralgia and muscle pain seems to reflect the common symptoms of the flu-like syndrome, and not COVID-19 infection-specific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2029-2031
Number of pages3
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Neurological manifestations
  • Test and smell disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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