The Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (United States) admitted to the emergency room a 15-year-old girl who was suffering from respiratory distress. She had tested positive for Covid-19 nine days previously and had no history. A laryngoscopy revealed bilateral vocal cord paralysis. Unheard of before in the adolescent population.
A “very unusual” case
The case was described in an article published in the journal Pediatrics on December 19. “For a young, healthy and vibrant high school student to suddenly lose the use of one of her cranial nerves to the point where she can no longer breathe is very unusual,” said Christopher Hartnick, lead author of the book, in a press release. the article and chief of pediatric otolaryngology at Mass Eye and Ear (Boston).
After a comprehensive battery of examinations, doctors first treated the teenager with therapy based on speech therapy exercises, but that did not work. In contrast, tracheotomy, “a surgically created opening in the trachea [a eu pour effet de] relieve the patient’s breathing difficulties. “She remained dependent on the tracheostomy for more than 13 months after initial treatment, suggesting that this type of nerve complication may not be temporary.”
A complication to consider
How to explain such a symptom? It could be a complication of the nervous system, which is added to all the neurological complications of Covid-19 identified in children and adults (dizziness, headaches, loss of taste and/or smell). , attention disorders, Guillain-Barré syndrome, etc.).
Given its severity and “the frequency of the virus in children, this new possible complication should be considered in any child presenting with breathing, speaking or swallowing problems after a recent diagnosis of Covid-19,” says the Dr. Danielle Reny Larrow, of the Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at Mass Eye and Ear, and first author of the study. “This is especially important as such complaints could be easily attributed to more common diagnoses such as asthma. »