Kauvery Hospital in Chennai, recently treated three unique cases of post-COVID illnesses. An 18-year-old girl was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which leads to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. She had an imbalance while walking with giddiness and sensory changes in the left side of her body. MRI Brain confirmed multiple inflammatory changes typical of ADEM.
"Although the symptoms are similar to that of Multiple Sclerosis, she was diagnosed with ADEM, which usually occurs in an individual post viral infections. The patient's family had tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks before her admission, but she was asymptomatic then. SARS COV2 IgG antibody test in the girl was positive for past COVID-19,” explained Dr. Sivarajan Thandeswaran, Senior Consultant – Stroke & Neurovascular Medicine.
She was immediately admitted for treatment and within a week, there was great improvement in her walking and she was also free from other symptoms.
Another case was that of a 69-year-old gentleman who suffered from an acute onset of difficulty in speaking, confusion with fever, cold and severe intellectual difficulties similar to dementia. “While his routine dementia tests were negative, COVID-19 RT-PCR was positive. Following initiation of steroids and remdesivir, he showed dramatic improvement within 5 days. He regained his cognitive functions and ability to speak clearly and made a complete recovery from COVID-19 Encephalopathy," adds Dr. Sivarajan Thandeswaran.
The next clinical scenario presented with peripheral nerve involvement in a 68-year-old lady who already had mild diabetes related numbness on her feet due to diabetic neuropathy. She noticed sudden loss of grip in her hands and feet, leaving her unable to drape her sari and mix food with fingers. She has had mild COVID related illness few weeks ago and was COVID antibody positive. Tests confirmed GBS- Guillain Barre Syndrome which is a rare post-COVID sequelae. After initiation on Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG), she made a full recovery in subsequent days.
Generally, people who are affected with COVID-19 undergo lot of prolonged illnesses often referred to as Long COVID. 50-60% of those who recover from COVID-19 suffer from post-COVID complications. The condition of ADEM is usually seen in younger population and there are worldwide case reports of this post-COVID syndrome.
Ever since the spread of COVID-19 affected multitudes of people across the globe, there is increasing identification of post-COVID long term health conditions such as fibrotic lung, new onset diabetes, stroke, new onset epilepsy, psychological illness, easy clotting/thrombosis etc.
"The virus has affected people by all means and every day, we face different health scenarios. Since we saw a rise in such cases, our team introduced post-COVID Wellness Centres, where people can seek the required healthcare support while recovering from COVID-19. It is to be emphasised that the pandemic is still simmering across the globe and it has become imperative for people to follow all the safety protocols and seek timely help," said Dr. Aravindan Selvaraj, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital.