Image source: Shutterstock/SvedOliver 

Corona in radiology

Revealing COVID-19-related brain injury in MRI and CT imaging

Injuries in the nervous system of patients with severe COVID-19 are revealed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). In a study of 185 patients, researchers at Karolinska Institutet (KI) and Karolinska University Hospital show an affection of microscopic blood vessels and inflammation in the brain, meninges and nerves.

The results have now been published in Radiology

Many people affected by COVID-19 have few symptoms, while others become critically ill. Some suffer from changes in the smell, taste or mood and some report fatigue, this suggests an affection of the peripheral and central nervous systems. There are also reports of impaired consciousness, personality changes and memory disturbances in those most severely affected by COVID-19.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have therefore summarized findings in the brain and spinal cord in COVID-19. During the study period of March to May, 185 patients were examined at Karolinska University Hospital, all with a positive PCR-test for SARS-CoV-2. In total, 222 examinations of the brain were performed with CT, 47 with brain MRI and seven with spinal MRI. The study findings included stroke and brain abnormalities related to the microvasculature.

portrait of tobias granberg
Tobias Granberg is a radiologist at the Neuroradiology Department, Karolinska University Hospital and research team leader at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet

Photo: Kajsa Müllersdorf/private

"We show that there is stroke, both in terms of brain infarctions and brain hemorrhages, that can be detected with conventional brain computed tomography in COVID-19. However, the most common finding was changes suggestive of thrombosis or bleedings along microscopic blood vessels in the brain that were only detectable by dedicated MRI techniques. Furthermore, we also found signs of inflammation in the brain, meninges and nerves", says Tobias Granberg, research team leader at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet and radiologist at the Neuroradiology Department, Karolinska University Hospital.

The researchers are now planning to follow the patients over a longer period of time to observe how the abnormalities in the nervous system change over time and how these findings can predict clinical outcomes. "We know very little of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain and spinal cord. It is, therefore, essential to continue dedicated multidisciplinary research on the topic", says Tobias Granberg.

The study was conducted as a collaboration between KI and Karolinska University Hospital and was financed amongst others by Region Stockholm and The Strategic Research Area Neuroscience (StratNeuro).


Source: Karolinska Institutet

03.08.2020

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

Biomarker

A real-time MRI method for the early detection of stroke

An international research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics developed a brain imaging method for improved and early assessment of stroke. Their study presents a methodology…

Photo

Stroke

Imaging in intra-arterial interventions

Stroke patients will first undergo a CT scan as they enter the hospital. Before any further imaging scan is carried out, the medical team must decide whether they need to intervene intra or extra…

Photo

Neuro-oncology

Challenges in brain tumour segmentation

Neuroradiologist Dr Sofie Van Cauter described the challenges to brain tumour image segmentation during the European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics (EuSoMII) annual meeting in Valencia. She…

Related products

MinFound – ScintCare Blue Series

20 to 64 Slices

MinFound – ScintCare Blue Series

MinFound Medical Systems Co., Ltd
MinFound – ScintCare CT128

Volume CT

MinFound – ScintCare CT128

MinFound Medical Systems Co., Ltd
MinFound – ScintCare CT16

2 to 16 Slices

MinFound – ScintCare CT16

MinFound Medical Systems Co., Ltd
AB-CT – Advanced Breast-CT – nu:view

Mammo CT

AB-CT – Advanced Breast-CT – nu:view

AB-CT – Advanced Breast-CT GmbH
AB-CT – Advanced Breast-CT – nu:view

Mammo CT

AB-CT – Advanced Breast-CT – nu:view

AB-CT – Advanced Breast-CT GmbH
allMRI GmbH – Foldable MRI wheelchair

Accessories / Complementary systems

allMRI GmbH – Foldable MRI wheelchair

allMRI GmbH