Unnecessary Use of Corticosteroids for managing early mild symptoms of COVID-19 may lead to Rhino-ortibal-cerebral mucormycosis in Patients with Diabetes – a case series from Lahore, Pakistan

Link to article at PubMed

Ther Adv Infect Dis. 2022 May 6;9:20499361221097417. doi: 10.1177/20499361221097417. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


Rhino-orbital-cerebral mucormycosis (ROCM), a rare but fatal fungal infection, has recently emerged as a serious complication after corticosteroids therapy in COVID-19 patients, predominantly in diabetic and immunocompromised patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 current guidelines recommend corticosteroids administration in hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring supplementary oxygen or mechanical ventilation. Herein, we report a case series of seven patients with COVID-19; three mild, three moderate, and one severe, from Lahore, Pakistan; all were using corticosteroids for managing their early mild symptoms of COVID-19 at home for around 2-3 weeks without a physician's advise, presented, and admitted with ROCM to Mayo hospital, Lahore, from March to June 2021. Out of the seven patients, five patients had uncontrolled diabetes mellitus (DM) as comorbidity. Eye pain, facial swelling and pain, nasal blockage, and black coloration around eyes, on palate, and oral mucosa were the presenting complaints at the time of admission. All the patients had radiographic imaging, including computed tomography (CT), paranasal sinuses (PNS), or brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) carried out at the hospital, which confirmed mucosal thickening and adjacent sinus bony erosions with intracranial extension. All the patients were treated with local debridement of the infected necrotic tissue along with intravenous liposomal Amphotericin B and Posaconazole or Amphotericin B depending on the case. Due to timely management, in six out of seven patients, prognosis was good due to early diagnosis and treatment, while one patient with severe COVID-19 illness deteriorated and died. The misuse of corticosteroids for managing early mild symptoms of COVID-19 in diabetic and other immunocompromised patients can lead to fatal ROCM, which can further increase their risk of developing severe COVID-19 and mortality. It is stressed that only physician's recommended therapeutic advice should be followed for managing early mild symptoms of COVID-19 in self-isolation and avoid the unnecessary use of corticosteroids. This case series also emphasizes that COVID-19 diabetic patients treated with corticosteroids need more vigilant monitoring and high suspicion of early diagnosis and treatment of invasive fungal infection. Early diagnosis and management can reduce morbidity and mortality.

PMID:35547833 | PMC:PMC9083038 | DOI:10.1177/20499361221097417

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