Neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19 similar to other respiratory infections
Neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19 similar to other respiratory infections

Neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19 similar to other respiratory infections


Information: Clift reports having received a grant from Cancer Research UK while conducting this study. Please see the survey for all other authors’ relevant financial information.


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Patients admitted for COVID-19 infection and those who survived other serious acute respiratory infections had a correspondingly higher risk of subsequent neuropsychiatric diagnoses and treatment, researchers in JAMA Psychiatry.

Ashley Kieran Clift, MA, MBBSfrom the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, and colleagues identified adults from QResearch’s electronic medical record databases, which included national SARS-CoV-2 tests, hospital statistics, ICU admissions, and mortality records from January 24, 2020 to July 7. 2021


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Researchers assessed emerging diagnoses of neuropsychiatric conditions – anxiety, dementia, psychosis, depression and bipolar disorder – or the first prescription of relevant medication, including antidepressants and antipsychotics, during a 12-month follow-up after hospital discharge.

A total of 8.38 million adults were included (4.2 million men; mean age 49 years), of whom 16,679 (0.02%) survived a hospitalization for a severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), and 32,525 (0.03%) survived a hospitalization with COVID-19.

According to the authors, compared to the remaining adults (99.05%), survivors of SARI and COVID-19 admissions had a higher risk of subsequent neuropsychiatric diagnoses.

HR for anxiety was 1.86 (95% CI, 1.56-2.21) for those with SARI and 2.36 (95% CI, 2.03-2.74) for those with COVID-19. For dementia, those with SARI had an HR of 2.55 (95% CI, 2.17-3), and those with COVID-19 had an HR of 2.63 (95% CI, 2.21-3.14) .

The authors reported similar results for analyzed drugs: For prescriptions of antidepressants, HR for SARI patients was 2.55 (95% CI, 2.24-2.9) and 3.24 (95% CI, 2.91-3.61 ) for those with COVID-19.

No significant differences were reported between the COVID-19 group and the SARI group, except for a lower risk of antipsychotic prescriptions in the COVID-19 group (HR = 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69-0.92) .

“These findings may help improve our understanding of the post-severe COVID-19 phenotype and may inform post-discharge support to patients in need of hospital-based and intensive care for SARI regardless of the causative pathogen,” Clift and colleagues wrote.

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