J Crit Care. 2021 Jul 13;65:259-260. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2021.07.005. Online ahead of print.
Neuromuscular Blockade Agents (NMBA) are used in the management of moderate and severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) patients. They have never been reported to present Central Nervous System adverse reactions. Shortage of cis-atracurium during the pandemic, led to the use of rocuronium. We report three patients with Covid-19 ARDS, who presented bilateral dilated, non-reactive pupils, after continuous rocuronium infusion. Brain CT findings were unremarkable and transcranial doppler tracings did not suggest brain edema or hemorrhage. NMBA's discontinuation led to reversal of the pupillary dilation. We believe that impairment of Blood-Brain-Barrier, due to Covid-19, led rocuronium access into the Central Nervous System, leading to this adverse effect. Clinicians should be aware of this adverse reaction when managing patients with Covid-19 ARDS warranting NMBA use.