Dyspnea perception and neurological symptoms in non-severe COVID-19 patients

This article was originally published here

Neurol Sci. 2020 Jul 30. doi: 10.1007/s10072-020-04632-x. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: The relationship between dyspnea and COVID-19 is unknown. In COVID-19 patients, the higher prevalence of neurological symptoms and the lack of dyspnea may suggest common underlying pathogenetic mechanisms. The aim of this preliminary study is to address whether there is a lack of dyspnea in COVID-19 patients and if there is a relationship between neurological symptoms and the perception of dyspnea.

METHODS: A structured interview regarding the occurrence of subjective neurological symptoms was performed and coupled with a questionnaire about the intensity and qualities of dyspnea. Respiratory rate (RR) and an arterial blood gas on room air were concurrently evaluated.

RESULTS: Twenty-two patients (age 68.4 ± 13.9 years, 13 males and 9 females) were included and divided into two groups according to the Borg dyspnea scale: dyspneic patients BU ≥ 1(DYSP) and non-dyspneic patients BU < 1 (NDYSP). The prevalence of dyspnea overall was 31.8%. The prevalence of neurological symptoms, dyspnea descriptors, RR, pH, PaCO2, PaO2, or lactate was similar between groups.

CONCLUSION: This study confirms that the prevalence of dyspnea is low in non-severe COVID-19 patients, but contrary to our hypothesis of a relationship between shortness of breath and neurological symptoms, we have not been able to find any evidence of an impairment in dyspnea perception, either in the DYSP or NDYSP group.

PMID:32734396 | DOI:10.1007/s10072-020-04632-x