Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic in Patients with Demyelinizing Diseases

Tkachuk Verónica,

Published on: 2022-08-01


Introduction: More than a year after the start of the pandemic, the follow-up and face-to-face care of patients with demyelinating diseases has been modified. According to the evidence, patients with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), isolated demyelinating syndrome (ADS), Isolated Radiological Syndrome (RAS) or neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum diseases do not seem to be a risk group for COVID19 due to the fact that they have the disease. The presence of certain conditions can make them susceptible to severe infection. A severe course association with anti-CD20 drugs has been described, data on the response to COVID19 vaccines in this population are lacking.

Objectives: To establish clinical-epidemiological characteristics of patients with demyelinating diseases who have suffered from COVID-19 and describe their evolution. Characterize the vaccinated population, evaluate access to medical/therapeutic follow-up during the pandemic. Materials and methods: Descriptive observational study. The medical records of 168 patients with MS, ADS and ARS and 33 patients with NMO corresponding to the Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martin were reviewed. Through a telephone survey, adherence to treatment, clinical evolution, COVID-19 infection, vaccination, and access during the pandemic were evaluated.

Results: 49 patients who developed COVID-19 were found in the MS patient group, and 7 in the NMO group. Of the first group, none required hospitalization, unlike in the second, 2 were hospitalized and one of them died. The most frequent post-COVID complication was: prolonged asthenia and 3 patients presented an outbreak of the underlying disease in the following 3 months. Close to 90% of our population already had at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV2 vaccine. Access to the neurological consultation was questioned and almost 70% of the patients gave the highest score to access to virtual consultations.

Conclusion: Patients with demyelinating diseases who had COVID-19 did not have severe complications from the infection, with only 2 patients having an outbreak in the subsequent 3 months. We did not observe severe post-vaccinal adverse reactions, nor subsequent infection, only 2 patients presented an outbreak in the post-application period. A large number of patients perceived fluid access to their neurologists virtually, which could be related to a high rate of adherence to their treatments despite the limitation to face-to-face consultation.

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