Covid-19 can trigger neuromuscular complications: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 05, 2020 Published on August 05, 2020

According to new research commissioned by the RRNMF Neuromuscular Journal, the novel coronavirus can cause neuromuscular complications in patients even if they have no history of it. The symptoms may exacerbate those who have such pre-existing complications.

The study analysed the serious consequences of Covid-19 in the neuromuscular system and how to boost the immune system of the patients on therapies to help them combat the virus.

“Although neuromuscular complications of Covid-19 have not received as much publicity as stroke complications, they are being increasingly reported,” said Gil I Wolfe, a co-author of the study from the University of Buffalo in the US.

“Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe life-threatening paralysing neuropathy, has now been seen in Covid-19 patients in many countries, including the US,” Wolfe said.

The researchers said that 27 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) stemming from the virus have been reported globally after the pandemic hit the world. This led to 44 per cent of the patients seeking ventilator support.

No fatalities were reported among these patients, and the scientists said 16 of them, or 59 per cent, demonstrated clinical improvement or achieved full, or near full recovery.

They further added that nine of the 27 patients, or 33.3 per cent, did not show significant improvement or had a worsening clinical status.

The researchers noted that of the 16 patients who improved, 14 were treated with intravenous antibodies.

“While we consider GBS a treatable neuropathy with slow recovery over time, it does appear that many of the Covid-19 patients are following a more refractory course,” Wolfe said.

“Time will tell how they do since the recovery phase can last a year or two,” he added.

The researchers said in their study that two other neuromuscular disorders — myopathy, and hyperCKemia — have also been a complication of Covid-19.

The researchers believe that patients with pre-existing neuromuscular disorders, including myasthenia gravis (MG), tend to be more vulnerable to infections like Covid-19, and the infection often exacerbated their conditions.

They added that immunotherapy treatments place these patients at greater risk of infection.

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Published on August 05, 2020
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