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Woman suffered brain fluid leak after taking nasal swab test for Covid-19: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 02, 2020 Published on October 02, 2020

The woman was suffering from an undiagnosed rare brain condition, and the test may have been conducted improperly

A 40-year-old woman in the United States got her skull ruptured after receiving a Covid-19 nasal swab test. The rupture caused cerebrospinal fluid to ooze out from her nose, putting her at risk of brain infection, according to an Agence France Presse report.

According to the doctors at Walsh Care, this happened because the woman was suffering from an undiagnosed rare brain condition, and the test may have been conducted improperly.

Jarrett Walsh, senior author of the paper that appeared in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, told AFP that patients who have sinus or have undergone a skull base surgery should rather go for oral testing.

Walsh, who practices at the University of Iowa Hospital, further added that the woman had taken the test days before her elective hernia surgery. After taking the test, she noticed a transparent fluid coming out of one side of her nose.

Also read: Saliva-based tests effective in detecting Covid-19 asymptomatic cases: Study

Walsh added: “She had been swabbed previously for another procedure, same side, no problems at all. She feels like maybe, the second swab was not using the best technique and that the entry was a little bit high.”

The woman later developed nausea, neck stiffness, and aversion to light. She was then shifter to Walsh's care for further treatment.

The doctors reported that the woman had also received treatments of intracranial hypertension — a condition of the brain where the pressure from the cerebrospinal fluid that protects and nourishes the brain becomes significantly high. Doctors had to drain some of the fluid to treat her condition.

However, the surgery led to another brain condition called encephalocele, a sac-like projection of the brain that protrudes into the nose and makes it susceptible to rupture.

Walsh urged health care professionals to carry testing protocols diligently as hundreds of millions of tests will take place before the end of the pandemic.

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Published on October 02, 2020
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