Peripheral Neuropathy in Long-COVID Patients: Demographic Distribution and Medical Risk Factors
Objective: A retrospective study was conducted to examine the relationship between long-COVID peripheral neuropathy and patient demographics and comorbid medical conditions.
Methods: Electronic health records of 543 patients from the Parkview Post-COVID Clinic were reviewed for their demographic information, past medical histories, and post-COVID clinic visit summaries. Based on whether patients had peripheral neuropathy as a post-COVID clinical visit diagnosis and whether they had had a history of neuropathy prior to COVID infection, the patients were assigned into the new-onset neuropathy group, progressing and non-progressing neuropathy groups, and non-neuropathy group. Age and BMI were compared among the four groups using two-sampled t test. Sex, prior COVID hospitalization status, and chronic comorbidities including hypertension, diabetes, and anemia were compared using chi-squared test.
Results: 19 of 543 (3.5%) patients had new-onset neuropathy and 18 (3.3%) were found to have progressing neuropathy. The study’s incidence of new-onset peripheral neuropathy (3.5% over two years) in long-COVID patients is higher than the incidence of non-COVID-related neuropathy indicated in literature (0.76% each year, p = 0.025). Compared with patients with no neuropathy, patients with new-onset neuropathy were of older age (p = 0.042), more male (p = 0.022), and more frequently hospitalized for COVID (p = 0.003). Compared to patients with no neuropathy, patients with progressing neuropathy were of older age (p < 0.001), had more COVID hospitalization (p = 0.033), diabetes (0.014), hypertension (p < 0.001), and anemia (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: Age and COVID hospitalization were found to be risk factors for both new-onset and progressing neuropathy. Being male was a risk factor for new-onset neuropathy only. Diabetes, anemia, and hypertensionwere risk factors for both progressing and non-progressing neuropathy but not for new-onset neuropathy. The results can prompt clinicians to assess peripheral neuropathy in long-COVID patients that have high demographic and medical risk factors.
Copyright (c) 2022 Jason Li, Camden Bohn, Noah Todd, MS, Jessica Pater, PhD, Jeanne Carroll, RN, Brian Henriksen, PhD
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.