One in three people who were severely ill with coronavirus were subsequently diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection, a study has found.
The observational research, which is the largest of its kind, used electronic health records of 236,379 patients mostly from the US and found 34% experienced mental health and neurological conditions afterwards. The most common being anxiety, with 17% of people developing this.
Experts warned that healthcare systems need to be resourced to deal with patients affected by this, which could be “substantial” given the scale of the pandemic. They anticipate that the impact could be felt on health services for many years.
Neurological diagnoses such as stroke and dementia were rarer, but not uncommon in those who had been seriously ill during infection. Of those who had been admitted to intensive care, 7% had a stroke and almost 2% were diagnosed with dementia.
The study, which was published in the Lancet Psychiatry, found that these diagnoses were more common in COVID-19 patients than among those who had the flu or respiratory tract infections over the same time period.
Source: The Guardian, 7 April 2021