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Long-term cognitive dysfunction after the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review

Shariff, Sanobar, Uwishema, Olivier, Mizero, Jocelyn, Devi Thambi, Vimala, Nazir, Abubakar, Mahmoud, Ashraf, Kaushik, Ikshwaki, Khayat, Saadeddine, Yusif Maigoro, Abdulkadir, Awde, Sara, Al Maaz, Zeina, Alwan, Iktimal, Hijazi, Mahdi, Wellington, Jack and Soojin, Lee 2023. Long-term cognitive dysfunction after the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review. Annals of Medicine and Surgery 85 (11) , pp. 5504-5510. 10.1097/MS9.0000000000001265

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Introduction: SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought a conglomerate of novel chronic disabling conditions described as ‘Long COVID/Post-COVID-19 Syndrome’. Recent evidence suggests that the multifaceted nature of this syndrome results in both pulmonary and extrapulmonary sequelae,chronic dyspnoea, persistent fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction being the most common, debilitating symptoms. Several mechanisms engender or exacerbate cognitive impairment, including central nervous system and extra-central nervous system causes, although the exact mechanism remains unclear. Both hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients may suffer varying degrees of cognitive impairment, ranging from fatigue and brain fog to prolonged deficits in memory and attention, detrimental to the quality-of-life years post-recovery. The aim of this review is to understand the underlying mechanisms, associations, and attempts for prevention with early intervention of long-term cognitive impairment post-COVID-19. Methodology: A systematic search was conducted through multiple databases such as Medline, National Library of Medicine, Ovid, Scopus database to retrieve all the articles on the long-term sequalae of cognitive dysfunction after SARS-CoV-2 infection. The inclusion criteria included all articles pertinent to this specific topic and exclusion criteria subtracted studies pertaining to other aetiologies of cognitive dysfunction. This search was carefully screened for duplicates and the relevant information was extracted and analysed. Results/discussion: To date, the exact pathogenesis, and underlying mechanisms behind cognitive dysfunction in COVID-19, remain unclear, hindering the development of adequate management strategies. However, the proposed mechanisms suggested by various studies include direct damage to the blood-brain barrier, systemic inflammation, prolonged hypoxia, and extended intensive care admissions. However, no clear-cut guidelines for management are apparent. Conclusion: This review of the COVID-19 pandemic has elucidated a new global challenge which is affecting individuals’ quality of life by inducing long-term impaired cognitive function. The authors have found that comprehensive evaluations and interventions are crucial to address the cognitive sequelae in all COVID-19 patients, especially in patients with pre-existing cognitive impairment. Nevertheless, the authors recommend further research for the development of relevant, timely neurocognitive assessments and treatment plans.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2049-0801
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 April 2024
Date of Acceptance: 23 August 2023
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2024 13:36

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