Peripheral Neuropathy in Long-COVID Patients: Demographic Distribution and Medical Risk Factors


  • Jason Li Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Camden Bohn Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Noah Todd, MS Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Jessica Pater, PhD Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Jeanne Carroll, RN Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Brian Henriksen, PhD Indiana University School of Medicine



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.