Intracranial microhemorrhages in the setting of COVID-19: what we know so far

John C. Benson, Christopher H. Hunt, James P. Klaas, David F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Diffuse intracranial susceptibility abnormalities have recently been described among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), although prior studies have consisted of case reports and/or series. This brief literature review seeks to compile and catalogue the available data to elucidate characteristic features of such findings. Materials and methods: Scientific articles and studies on intracranial microhemorrhages in the setting of COVID-19 were searched on PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Library. Included studies described intracranial microbleed(s) on magnetic resonance imaging in patients with COVID-19. If multiple patients were described, only patients with intracranial microhemorrhage on magnetic resonance imaging were included for analysis. Patient demographics, severity of illness (e.g. intensive care unit admission and/or intubation), time from diagnosis of COVID-19 to magnetic resonance imaging, and location(s) of any observed microhemorrhages were noted. Results: A total of 39 patients with suspected intracranial microhemorrhages have been described in prior studies. The average age of patients was 64.7 years; 21.9% were women. The average time between COVID-19 diagnosis and magnetic resonance imaging was 31.7 days. All patients in the cohort were admitted to critical care and were either intubated or treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation during their clinical course. Microhemorrhages were most commonly located in the subcortical/juxtacortical white matter and corpus callosum. Conclusions: Intracranial microbleeds are a well-documented finding in patients with severe COVID-19, and are most commonly callosal and subcortical/juxtacortical in location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-439
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroradiology Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • COVID-19
  • MRI
  • SWI
  • microbleed
  • microhemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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