| Meta-analysis Systematic Review  

Peripheral nervous system involvement associated with COVID-19. A systematic review of literature

There is increasing evidence of both central and peripheral nervous system (PNS) involvement in COVID-19. In this systematic literature review the authors investigated the characteristics, management and outcomes of patients with PNS, including the types and severity of cranial nerves (CN) involvement. They systematically searched on PubMed for studies reporting adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and PNS involvement until July 2021.

From 1670 records, 225 articles matched the inclusion criteria, with a total of 1320 neurological events, in 1004 patients. There were 805 (61%) CN, 350 (26.5%) PNS, and 165 (12.5%) PNS plus CN events. The most frequently involved CN were the facial, vestibulo-cochlear and olfactory nerve in 27.3%, 25.4% and 16.1%, respectively. Guillain-Barre syndrome spectrum was identified in 84.2% of PNS events. 328 patients reported in 225 articles with CN, PNS, and PNS plus CN involvement were analyzed. The patients with CN involvement were younger (mean age 46.2±17.1, p = .003), and were more frequently treated as outpatients (p < .001), mostly with glucocorticoids (p < .001). Patients that had PNS with or without CN involvement were more likely to be hospitalized (p < .001), and to receive intravenous immunoglobulins (p = .002) or plasma exchange (p = .002). Patients with CN, PNS, and PNS plus CN had severe COVID -19 disease in 24.8%, 37.3%, 34.9% respectively. The most common neurological outcome was mild/moderate sequelae in patients with CN, PNS, and PNS plus CN in 54.7%, 67.5% and 67.8% respectively (p = .1) and no significant difference was found between the three categories regarding death, disease severity, time from disease onset to neurological symptoms, lack of improvement and complete recovery. CN involvement was the most frequent PNS finding. The authors concluded that all three categories of PNS involvement were rather associated to non-severe COVID-19 but it may be an important cause of hospitalization and post COVID-19 sequelae.

Hanganu AR, Constantin A, Moise ES, Niculae CM, Olaru ID, Băicuș C, Hristea A. Peripheral nervous system involvement associated with COVID-19. A systematic review of literature. PLoS One. 2023 Apr 6;18(4):e0283827.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0283827