Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Headache incidence and characteristics in COVID-19 patients: A hospital-based study

 Department of Neurology, Apollo Speciality hospital, Pinakini Nagar, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Manisha Sharma,
Department of neurology, Apollo Speciality hospital, Pinakini Nagar, Nellore - 524 004, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.aian_244_21

Background: Headache is one of the commonly reported symptoms of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) illness. A number of studies have been done so far focusing on headache associated with COVID-19 with variable incidence and characteristics. Material and Methods: This study is a prospective study conducted on 120 patients with confirmed COVID-19 illness. Critically ill and ventilated patients were excluded. Demographic data, COVID illness symptom profile, headache characteristics were documented. Patients were followed up at 2 weeks and 4 weeks. For the statistical analysis, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 24.0 was used. Results: 120 COVID-19 positive cases were included in the study with a mean age of 54.59 ± 14.89 years (range 21-84 years) with male-to-female ratio of 3:2. 78.33% (94) of patients had various comorbidities. 43.33% (52) cases were diabetic. The presenting symptoms were fever (65%), cough (53.33%), shortness of breath (35%) and myalgia (31.66%). 26 (21.66%) patients reported headache during the COVID illness. 18 (15%) cases had headache attributed as secondary to COVID-19 illness. Out of them, 12 cases were new onset with no past history of headache and 6 cases had a significant change in previous headache episodes. COVID-19 illness precipitated headache episodes similar to past headache type in 8 cases. Headache was the presenting symptom in 8 (6.66%) patients with COVID-19 being detected in the regular hospital screening protocol. Conclusion: Headache was a common symptom in COVID-19 patients. New onset headaches or change in past headache type in patients in the setting of ongoing pandemic should be screened for COVID-19.

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    -  Sharma M
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