7% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 have neurologic complications, large study finds

A new study involving more than 15,000 children hospitalized with COVID-19 found 7 percent experienced neurologic complications, such as seizures. 

The findings were published Oct. 20 in Pediatrics and are based on data from 15,137 patients hospitalized across 52 children's hospitals from March 2020 to March 2022. About 37 percent of children had a pre-existing complex chronic condition and 9.8 percent had at least one neurologic complex chronic condition. 

A total of 1,060 hospitalized children (7 percent) experienced a neurologic complication. The most common were fever-related seizures (3.8 percent), nonfebrile seizures (2.3 percent) and encephalopathy, (2.1 percent) a broad term for any brain disease that alters brain function or structure.

Researchers note that neurologic complications also occur in children hospitalized with other respiratory viruses, such as the flu and RSV. 

"Our findings emphasize the importance of COVID-19 immunization in children, especially in high-risk populations, such as those with neurologic comorbidity," the study said.


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