Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can cause neurological sequelae after the resolution of symptomatic COVID-19 illness, but the occurrence of peripheral neuropathy symptoms and cranial nerve dysfunction is unknown. This study aimed to characterize the occurrence and severity of pain and peripheral neuropathy symptoms in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.An observational cohort study included adults tested for a SARS-CoV-2 infection at an academic medical center (assigned as CV+ or control, based on test results). 30-90 days after the index SARS-CoV-2 test, patients completed a web-based questionnaire assessing pain, peripheral neuropathy-related sensory symptoms, and symptoms in the distribution of cranial nerves (current symptoms, symptoms at testing and two weeks thereafter). Univariate analyses compared the outcomes between the groups. Multivariable analysis was used to determine the odds for neuropathy symptoms after adjusting for key baseline variables.1556 participants were included: 542 CV+ and 1014 controls. CV+ patients reported a higher occurrence of peripheral neuropathy symptoms in the extremities anytime within 90 days post-infection (28.8% vs 12.9%, OR [95%CI] =2.72 [2.10-3.54]), as well as such symptoms persisting up to 90 days after infection (6.1% vs 1.9%, OR=3.39 [1.91-6.03]). The occurrence of pain in the extremities was higher in the CV+ group (24.2% vs 9.8%, OR=2.95 [2.21-3.91]). SARS-CoV-2 infection was also associated with higher occurrence of peripheral neuropathy symptoms, after adjusting for the history of chronic pain and neuropathy (OR=3.19 [2.37-4.29]. The results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection was independently associated with an increased risk of pain and peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
Copyright © 2022 International Association for the Study of Pain.