MONDAY, May 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Approximately 3 percent of patients with pneumonia associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection subsequently develop dementia, according to a study published in the April issue of Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

Adnan I. Qureshi, M.D., from University of Missouri in Columbia, and colleagues examined the risk for a new diagnosis of dementia following more than 30 days after the index hospitalization for COVID-19. The analysis included 10,403 patients with pneumonia associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The researchers found that 3 percent of participants developed new-onset dementia during a median period of 182 days. The risk for new-onset dementia was significantly higher with pneumonia associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection versus pneumonia unrelated to SARS-CoV-2 infection (odds ratio, 1.3) when adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, nicotine dependence/tobacco use, alcohol use/abuse, atrial fibrillation, previous stroke, and congestive heart failure. The association persisted even after additional adjustment for the occurrence of stroke, septic shock, and intubation/mechanical ventilation during index hospitalization (odds ratio, 1.3).

“The findings suggest a role for screening for cognitive deficits among COVID-19 survivors,” Qureshi said in a statement. “If there is evidence of impairment during screening and if the patient continues to report cognitive symptoms, a referral for comprehensive assessment may be necessary.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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