Several studies reported acute symptomatic seizures as a possible neurological complication of COVID-19 pneumonia. Apart from metabolic imbalances, hypoxia, and fever, other ictogenic mechanisms are likely related to an immune-mediated damage. The same mechanisms are shared by other respiratory viruses. Since neurotropic properties of SARS-CoV-2 have been questioned, we investigated whether SARS-CoV-2 has a similar ictogenic potential to other respiratory non-neurotropic viruses. We conducted a retrospective study identifying 1141 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and 146 patients with H1N1/H3N2 pneumonia. We found a similar prevalence of seizures in the two viral pneumonia (1.05% with SARS-CoV-2 vs 2.05% with influenza; p = 0.26). We detailed clinical, electroencephalographic, and neuroradiological features of each patient, together with the hypothesized pathogenesis of seizures. Previous epilepsy or pre-existing predisposing conditions (i.e., Alzheimer's disease, stroke, cerebral neoplasia) were found in one-third of patients that experienced seizures, while two-thirds of patients had seizures without known risk factors other than pneumonia in both groups. The prevalence of pre-existing predisposing conditions and disease severity indexes was similar in SARS-CoV-2 and H1N1/H3N2 pneumonia, thus excluding they could act as potential confounders. Considering all the patients with viral pneumonia together, previous epilepsy (p < 0.001) and the need for ventilatory support (p < 0.001), but not the presence of pre-existing predisposing conditions (p = 0.290), were associated with seizure risk. Our study showed that SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses share a similar ictogenic potential. In both these infections, seizures are rare but serious events, and can manifest without pre-existing predisposing conditions, in particular when pneumonia is severe, thus suggesting an interplay between disease severity and host response as a major mechanism of ictogenesis, rather than a virus-specific mechanism.

Ictogenesis of viral pneumonia: A comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and H1N1/H3N2

Chiara Milano;Francesco Turco;Chiara Pizzanelli;Enrico Tagliaferri;Lorenzo Nesti;Mauro Pistello;Francesco Menichetti;Francesco Forfori;Enrica Bonanni;Gabriele Siciliano
2021-01-01

Abstract

Several studies reported acute symptomatic seizures as a possible neurological complication of COVID-19 pneumonia. Apart from metabolic imbalances, hypoxia, and fever, other ictogenic mechanisms are likely related to an immune-mediated damage. The same mechanisms are shared by other respiratory viruses. Since neurotropic properties of SARS-CoV-2 have been questioned, we investigated whether SARS-CoV-2 has a similar ictogenic potential to other respiratory non-neurotropic viruses. We conducted a retrospective study identifying 1141 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and 146 patients with H1N1/H3N2 pneumonia. We found a similar prevalence of seizures in the two viral pneumonia (1.05% with SARS-CoV-2 vs 2.05% with influenza; p = 0.26). We detailed clinical, electroencephalographic, and neuroradiological features of each patient, together with the hypothesized pathogenesis of seizures. Previous epilepsy or pre-existing predisposing conditions (i.e., Alzheimer's disease, stroke, cerebral neoplasia) were found in one-third of patients that experienced seizures, while two-thirds of patients had seizures without known risk factors other than pneumonia in both groups. The prevalence of pre-existing predisposing conditions and disease severity indexes was similar in SARS-CoV-2 and H1N1/H3N2 pneumonia, thus excluding they could act as potential confounders. Considering all the patients with viral pneumonia together, previous epilepsy (p < 0.001) and the need for ventilatory support (p < 0.001), but not the presence of pre-existing predisposing conditions (p = 0.290), were associated with seizure risk. Our study showed that SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses share a similar ictogenic potential. In both these infections, seizures are rare but serious events, and can manifest without pre-existing predisposing conditions, in particular when pneumonia is severe, thus suggesting an interplay between disease severity and host response as a major mechanism of ictogenesis, rather than a virus-specific mechanism.
Milano, Chiara; Turco, Francesco; Pizzanelli, Chiara; Pascazio, Alessia; Tagliaferri, Enrico; Nesti, Lorenzo; Pistello, Mauro; Lisa Capria, Anna; Menichetti, Francesco; Forfori, Francesco; Bonanni, Enrica; Siciliano, Gabriele
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1116215
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