Post-Covid-19 neurological sequelae – VnExpress

Stroke, encephalitis, sleep disturbance, headache, dizziness, acute myelitis… are neurological sequelae that many people encounter after recovering from Covid-19.

Doctor Nguyen Thi Minh Duc (Head of Neurology Department, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City) said that according to Johns Hopkins Medicine International (a medical system in the US), about 50% of people infected with nCoV have symptoms. on nerve. Scientists are still working to get an exact answer, several theories have been put forward to explain why Covid-19 affects the nervous system, based on the available evidence. In particular, scientists believe that the virus has the ability to attack the brain causing encephalitis, as evidenced by finding the virus in the cerebrospinal fluid in some patients. Another theory is that nCoV causes many abnormal blood clots in large arteries to cause heart and brain strokes.

Another study, published in May 2021 in the International Medical Journal, also found that 80% of patients had at least one persistent Covid symptom. This is a health condition that does not return to normal after three months of illness and lasts for at least two months without other causes (as defined by the World Health Organization – WHO).

The long-lasting Covid symptoms are mostly fatigue, followed by neurological complications such as headaches, attention disorders, loss of smell, memory loss, anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders. ; mental illnesses such as paranoia, mood swings, dizziness, stroke… There are also some reports of cerebral venous thrombosis, meningitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome and reversible posterior cerebral circulation disorder (PRES) syndrome, said Dr.


Headache is one of the most common neurological symptoms in acute phase F0 and after recovery. Post-infection headaches are often accompanied by photophobia and neck stiffness. Pain may appear on one or both sides of the head, pain in the temples or forehead. If this condition is prolonged, untreated, it can cause insomnia, fatigue, stress, weight loss and progression to chronicity. The doctor recommends that patients should go to a medical facility for examination and treatment of post-Covid-19 headache and dizziness if there is no improvement after 7-10 days.

Sleep disorders

Recently, Tam Anh Hospital has received a number of patients coming to the clinic because of insomnia during and after contracting Covid-19. “The initial cause is the psychological trauma caused by the pandemic, inflammation of the nerves or another neurological sequelae caused by nCoV,” said Dr.

Sleep disturbance can manifest in many different states, such as 57% difficulty falling asleep, even not sleeping; 46% sleep less than usual and 36% have nightmares while sleeping. This long-term condition can cause fatigue, headaches, exhaustion, stress, and depression. In case the sleep disorder persists for more than a week and does not improve, the patient should visit the hospital with a specialist neurologist for advice on appropriate treatment methods. In particular, patients should not arbitrarily use sleeping pills that can cause addiction and dependence.

Fog in the brain

Brain fog is related to the ability to think, memory and concentration, manifesting in many different ways such as slow thinking, memory loss, difficulty remembering words, confusion, difficulty concentrating and easily losing focus. . There are many causes of this condition, such as lack of oxygen due to lung damage, viruses entering brain cells, as well as autoimmune disorders of the body, brain stroke, etc., German doctor analyzed. . Treatment of brain fog depends on the cause, and the doctor can use supportive measures such as exercise, getting enough sleep, increasing the amount of protein, fruit, healthy fats, limiting stimulants. like wine, beer, participating in social activities…


Many studies show that the rate of ischemic stroke in Covid-19 patients is at 2.3%, in severe patients this rate can reach 6%. The sequelae of blood clotting disorder after Covid-19 infection is one of the causes of stroke.

According to the German doctor, the risk of stroke after being infected with Covid-19 can occur in all ages, genders and even in people without stroke risk factors. Therefore, if after the recovery period, the body shows some symptoms such as sudden headache, vomiting, dizziness, numbness in the limbs, convulsions or hemiplegia… it is necessary to go to the hospital to see a doctor. neurosurgeon.

Doctor Nguyen Thi Minh Duc is advising a recovering F0 with many post-infection sequelae. Photo: Provided by the hospital

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)

There have been reports of several cases of GBS associated with Covid-19, mainly in men and over 50 years of age. This syndrome is a rare acute polyneuritis disease, causing numbness in the hands and feet, can affect the swallowing muscles, causing swallowing, affecting the respiratory muscles, making the patient unable to breathe. This case requires hospitalization for treatment because the disease progresses quite quickly and can cause death due to aspiration of food into the lungs or apnea.

Cerebral venous thrombosis

This is a fairly rare complication with an overall prevalence of about 0.3%. People without any risk factors are more likely to experience cerebral venous thrombosis if they have ever had Covid-19. Initial symptoms may include signs of increased intracranial pressure such as progressive headache, vomiting, blurred vision due to papilledema, focal neurological impairment, decreased consciousness, and convulsions.

Meningitis, encephalitis

Journal International Journal of Infectious Diseases published a report on the first case of meningitis, encephalitis related to Covid-19 2020. The patient is a Japanese, hospitalized emergency for convulsions accompanied by unconsciousness, previously appeared fatigue. fatigue, fever, vomiting. Scientists have confirmed the ability of nCoV to damage the central nervous system.

Reversible posterior cerebral circulation syndrome (PRES)

Patients with severe nCoV infection have a strong inflammatory response, which causes a cytokine storm that damages the blood-brain barrier and can lead to reversible posterior cerebral circulatory disorder syndrome. Features of this syndrome may include symptoms such as headache, altered consciousness, visual disturbances, seizures, and blood pressure fluctuations.

Doctor Minh Duc said that the severity of neurological sequelae after Covid-19 infection is different for each person. Post-Covid-19 patients with neurological symptoms need to see a neurologist as soon as possible to receive an appropriate care plan.

Tam Anh General Hospital implements a comprehensive program of care, screening and treatment of post-Covid-19 sequelae with specialties such as respiratory, cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, diabetes. , musculoskeletal, rehabilitation, imaging, nutrition… Besides counseling, physical and psychological screening, the hospital also prevents health risks for patients, prevents cancer severe illness due to Covid-19.

Contact to schedule an appointment with experts at Tam Anh General Hospital:

– Hanoi: 108 Hoang Nhu Tiep, Bo De ward, Long Bien district. Hotline: 1800 6858

– Ho Chi Minh City: 2B Pho Quang, Ward 2, Tan Binh District. Hotline: 0287 102 6789.

Quynh Phuong


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