Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with nervous system involvement, with more than one-third of COVID-19 patients experiencing neurological manifestations. Utilizing a systematic review, this study aimed to summarize brain MRI findings in COVID-19 patients presenting with neurological symptoms. A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) checklist. The electronic databases of PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science were systematically searched for literature addressing brain MRI findings in COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms. 25 publications containing a total number of 3118 COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms who underwent MRI were included. The most common MRI findings and the respective pooled incidences in decreasing order were acute/subacute infarct (22%), olfactory bulb abnormalities (22%), white matter abnormalities (20%), cerebral microbleeds (17%), grey matter abnormalities (12%), leptomeningeal enhancement (10%), ADEM (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis) or ADEM-like lesions (10%), non-traumatic ICH (10%), cranial neuropathy (8%), cortical gray matter signal changes compatible with encephalitis (8%), basal ganglia abnormalities (5%), PRES (Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome) (3%), hypoxic-ischemic lesions (4%), venous thrombosis (2%), and cytotoxic lesions of the corpus callosum (2%). The present study revealed that a considerable proportion of patients with COVID-19 might harbor neurological abnormalities detectable by MRI. Among various findings, the most common MRI alterations are acute/subacute infarction, olfactory bulb abnormalities, white matter abnormalities, and cerebral microbleeds.
Afsahi AM, Norbash AM, Syed SF, Sedaghat M, Afsahi G, Shahidi R, Tajabadi Z, Bagherzadeh-Fard M, Karami S, Yarahmadi P, Shirdel S, Asgarzadeh A, Baradaran M, Khalaj F, Sadeghsalehi H, Fotouhi M, Habibi MA, Jang H, Alavi A, Sedaghat S. Brain MRI findings in neurologically symptomatic COVID-19 patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Neurol. 2023 Aug 3.