Coronavirus & The Brain

Doctors find many COVID-19 patients are dealing with confusion and even delirium, possibly due to lower oxygen levels in the brain. WDIV's Karen Drew reports.

(WDIV/NBC News) — Doctors are starting to learn more about how COVID-19 can effect the brain, causing some patients to suffer from confusion or even delirium.

In some cases the neurological symptoms were the first signs of their infection.

“Some are having this, what we call ‘hyperactive delirium,’ where you can get very agitated and start to have these paranoid delusions,” says Dr. Pravin George of the Cleveland Clinic. “Some of them are having this thing called ‘hypoactive,’ where they have these kind of internalized visions and then they start to have this very bad confusion.”

George says he’s noticed an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients experiencing delirium.

Intensive Care Unit delirium isn’t uncommon, especially in older patients and people with medical problems, however, research suggests COVID-19 delirium is trending younger, with some patients arriving at the hospital complaining of hallucinations.

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