ABSTRACT: Background and Objectives:
Neurological involvement associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection is increasingly recognized. However, the specific characteristics and prevalence in pediatric patients remain unclear. The objective of this study was to describe the neurological involvement in a multinational cohort of hospitalized pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2.
This was a multicenter observational study of children <18 years of age with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or multisystemic inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) and laboratory evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children, admitted to 15 tertiary hospitals/healthcare centers in Canada, Costa Rica, and Iran February 2020–May 2021. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed and logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with neurological involvement.
One-hundred forty-seven (21%) of 697 hospitalized children with SARS-CoV-2 infection had neurological signs/symptoms. Headache (
n= 103), encephalopathy ( n= 28), and seizures ( n= 30) were the most reported. Neurological signs/symptoms were significantly associated with ICU admission (OR: 1.71, 95% CI: 1.15–2.55; p= 0.008), satisfaction of MIS-C criteria (OR: 3.71, 95% CI: 2.46–5.59; p< 0.001), fever during hospitalization (OR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.46–3.15; p< 0.001), and gastrointestinal involvement (OR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.58–3.40; p< 0.001). Non-headache neurological manifestations were significantly associated with ICU admission (OR: 1.92, 95% CI: 1.08–3.42; p= 0.026), underlying neurological disorders (OR: 2.98, 95% CI: 1.49–5.97, p= 0.002), and a history of fever prior to hospital admission (OR: 2.76, 95% CI: 1.58–4.82; p< 0.001). Discussion:
In this study, approximately 21% of hospitalized children with SARS-CoV-2 infection had neurological signs/symptoms. Future studies should focus on pathogenesis and long-term outcomes in these children.