March 26, 2021

Status Epilepticus and COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Purpose: In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the SARS-CoV-2 infection-related coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) a pandemic. During the first and second waves of the pandemic spread, there have been several reports of COVID-19-associated neurological manifestations, including acute seizures and status epilepticus (SE). In this systematic review, we summarized the available data on clinical features, diagnosis, and therapy of COVID-19-related SE.

Methods: We performed a systematic search of the literature to identify data on demographics, clinical, neurophysiological, and neuroradiological data of patients with COVID-19-related SE. We used regression models (linear or logistic) with a stepwise forward method to identify features associated with mortality or severity of SE.

Results: Thirty-nine articles were included with a total of 47 cases of SE associated with COVID-19. Age, time between the acute respiratory phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection and SE onset, and hospitalization correlated with a higher SE severity as assessed by quantitative validated scales.

Conclusions: SE can be a neurological manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although a possible association between SE and COVID-19 has been reported, the exact mechanisms are still not fully understood. Systemic inflammatory syndrome due to cytokine release could play a role in COVID-19-related SE.

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