Antonio Sánchez-Merino 1
Miguel Ángel Huerta-Martínez 2
Alexandru Ovidiu Zabava 3

1 Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada (UGR)
2 Department of Pharmacology and Federico Olóriz Institute of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Research Centre (CIBM), University of Granada (UGR)
3 Institut für Biologie, Karl-Franzens Universität Graz | University of Granada (UGR)

Translated by:

Paula Trillo-Peña 4
Ana Castillo-González 4
Rubén García-Delgado 4
Virginia Sagarra-García 4
Antonio Jódar-González 4
María Rodríguez-Palomo 4
Olga Fenoll-Martínez 4

4 Faculty of Translation and Interpreting, University of Granada (UGR)

COVID-19 is an example of a newly emerging, infectious disease with pandemic potential. Although there are numerous studies on this disease, the main focus now is on relating COVID-19 with possible long-term sequelae, as well as neurological manifestations. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of new-onset seizures, that is, in patients who had not been previously diagnosed with epilepsy.

A systematic search of articles and preprints was performed in three databases (MedLine, Scopus and Web of Science) between February 24 and March 7, 2021. The MeSH terms and keywords used in the search were: (“SARS-CoV-2” OR “COVID-19”) AND (“Seizures” OR “Status Epilepticus” OR “Electroencephalography” OR “EEG”) NOT (“Epilepsy”).

Twenty-one studies were included 21 studies in the systematic review after screening. It was estimated that approximately 2.9 % of COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms developed new-onset seizures and about 0.67% of the total number of COVID-19 patients developed new-onset seizures. The most common coexisting symptoms among these patients were fever, vomiting, cough and malaise. Antiepileptic treatment was key to the improvement of the health status of patients who developed new-onset seizures.

With the limited data available, it is currently impossible to establish a direct association between SARSCoV-2 infection and the development of new-onset seizures. The pathophysiologic mechanism causing the seizures cannot yet be determined either. However, it can be concluded that generally, these seizures are successfully reverted with antiepileptic treatment and patients usually respond favorably.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, neurological sequelae, seizures, status epilepticus.

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