Stuttering and Word-Finding Difficulties in a Patient With COVID-19 Presenting to the Emergency Department.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was designated as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews documents that COVID-19 has a wide range of common symptoms, which have made it difficult to characterize the disease. To date, the neurological symptoms of stuttering and word-finding difficulties have not been reported in confirmed COVID-19 cases. This case report describes the clinical course of a 53-year-old female that presented to the emergency department (ED) twice with varying symptoms consistent with COVID-19. At the second ED visit, she complained of new-onset stuttering and word-finding difficulties and tested positive for COVID-19 using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasopharynx test. When contacted, the patient stated that her speech issues persisted at least seven days after discharge from her second ED visit. As a result, the virus may cause symptoms of an acute neurological event and should be taken into diagnostic consideration. These neurological findings may be explained by the recent discovery of the COVID-19 spike protein's ability to destabilize the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and enter the central nervous system (CNS). Increased classification of unrecognized COVID-19 symptoms and complications may aid in the characterization, surveillance, and prevention of the disease.