An American's Covid Test Goes Wrong: It Pierces Her Brain Wall, Leaks Cerebrospinal Fluid

Steph Deschamps / September 1, 2020

A nasal test for Covid-19 pierced an American’s brain wall, causing cerebrospinal fluid to leak through her nose and risking a dangerous infection, doctors reported in a medical journal Thursday.


The patient, in her forties, had an undiagnosed problem and the test she was given may have been incorrectly administered; which means that the risk to the population after this type of testing is very low.


But her case shows that healthcare professionals must follow protocols to the letter, Jarrett Walsh, lead author of the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery article, told AFP. And people who have had sinus surgery, for example, should consider ordering oral tests if possible, he adds.


"This underlines the need for adequate training of those administering the test, and the need to be vigilant after the test has been administered," adds ENT specialist Dennis Kraus, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who did not participate in the article.


Jarrett Walsh, who practices at the University of Iowa Hospital, said the patient had been tested before surgery for a hernia, and found that a clear fluid was coming out of one of her nostrils.


After having a headache, vomiting and developing a stiff neck and sensitivity to light, she was examined by Mr. Walsh.


The American thinks the test may have been administered a little too high in the nostril, he said.


She had been treated in the past for high intracranial pressure, and the doctors had used a needle to drain fluid at the time and her problem had been resolved. But then she developed an encephalocele, which causes the lining of the brain to overflow into the nasal cavity. What hadn't been diagnosed until her new doctors looked at her old CT scan results and performed surgery to correct the defect in July. She has since fully recovered.


Dr Walsh says she thinks the symptoms she developed were the result of irritation to the lining of the brain. If the problem had not been treated, she could have developed a potentially fatal brain infection, or air could have entered the skull and placed undue pressure on the brain.


Credit : Sudinfo

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