Case series/case reports (Indigo)
Early reports and case series suggest that cognitive deficits occur in some patients with COVID-19. In this article, the authors evaluated the frequency, severity, and profile of cognitive dysfunction in patients recovering from prolonged COVID-19 hospitalisation who required acute inpatient rehabilitation prior to discharge. They analysed cross-sectional scores from the Brief Memory and Executive Test (BMET) in a cohort of 57 COVID-19 patients undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, calculating the frequency of impairment based on neuropsychologist diagnosis and by age-normed BMET subtests. In total, 43 patients (75%) were male, 35 (61%) were non-white, and mean age was 64.5 (SD = 13.9) years. In total, 48 (84%) were previously living at home independently. Two patients had documented preexisting cognitive dysfunction; none had known dementia. Patients were evaluated at a mean of 43.2 (SD = 19.2) days after initial admission. In total, 50 patients (88%) had documented hypoxaemic respiratory failure and 44 (77%) required intubation. Forty-six patients (81%) had cognitive impairment, ranging from mild to severe. Deficits were common in working memory (26/47 [55%] of patients), set-shifting (21/44 [47%]), divided attention (18/39 [46%]), and processing speed (14/35 [40%]). Executive dysfunction was not significantly associated with intubation duration or the time from extubation to assessment, psychiatric diagnosis, or preexisting cardiovascular/metabolic disease. Attention and executive functions are frequently impaired in COVID-19 patients who require acute rehabilitation prior to discharge. Though interpretation is limited by lack of a comparator group, these results provide an early benchmark for identifying and characterising cognitive difficulties after COVID-19. Given the frequency and pattern of impairment, easy-to-disseminate interventions that target attention and executive dysfunction may be beneficial to this population.