Preprint Case Report Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Early Attention Impairment in a Patient with COVID-19

Version 1 : Received: 10 July 2020 / Approved: 12 July 2020 / Online: 12 July 2020 (18:42:14 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci. 2020
DOI: 10.1111/pcn.13178


A 47-year-old physician suddenly noticed a persistent difficulty maintaining attention. He was awake, alert, and oriented. After two hours he developed fever, ageusia, and anosmia. He denied any previous history of psychiatric illness and was hydrated at the time of the subjective attention impairment. On admission, the patient remained oriented. He reported the persistence of attention problems, anosmia, and mild fatigue. The oxygen saturation 99% while he was breathing ambient air. Laboratory tests were unremarkable. A high-resolution computed tomography of the chest was normal. Nasopharyngeal and throat swabs specimens on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis tested positive for SARS-CoV2. On illness day 3, the examination was unchanged, but he continued to complain of difficulties to stay focused. Then, he performed an objective attention test. The test demonstrated a moderate attentional impairment. On day 6, the patient reported a subjective worse in his concentration and performed a second test. Although his physical examination remained normal, the attention performance was worse as compared to day 3. Eight hours after worsening of attention impairment, the patient’s oxygen saturation dropped to 94%. From illness days 9 to 14, the patient evolved with clinical improvement. On day 10, a third objective attention test indicated a mild deficit. On day 16, he did not report any other symptom and the attention test was completely normal. Then, the patient returned to work. Neurological symptoms had been previously described in COVID- 19 patients. However, no previous research had investigated early cognitive deficits preceding the traditional symptoms.


Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; Attention; Variability of Reaction Time; Neuropsychology; Central Nervous System


MEDICINE & PHARMACOLOGY, Psychiatry & Mental Health studies

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