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1.
Clin Infect Pract ; 7: 100052, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-893696

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Syndromes of iron overload have been shown to increase the risk of severe clinical disease in viral infections. Immune dysfunction is similarly described in hereditary haemochromatosis (HH). We present here the case of a 51-year-old man who developed severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) complicated by suspected haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). He was found to have HH post-mortem and we propose a link between his iron overload and the development of severe COVID-19. CASE REPORT: The initial clinical presentation consisted of cough, shortness of breath and fever. Pancytopenia, markedly elevated ferritin and d-dimer were present. Computed tomography (CT) showed bilateral ground glass changes consistent with COVID-19, widespread lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. A subsequent combined nose and throat swab was positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). HLH was suspected based upon the H-score and Anakinra, an IL-1 receptor antagonist, was commenced. Liver function acutely worsened and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) revealed hepatic haemosiderosis. Intense splenic and cervical lymph node uptake were seen on a positron emission tomography (PET) scan and high doses of intravenous steroids were administered due to concerns over haematological malignancy. RESULTS: Day fourteen of admission heralded the start of progressive clinical deterioration with rapid increase in oxygen demands. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) was trialled without success and the patient unfortunately died seventeen days into admission. Results returned after his death showed homozygous C282Y mutation of the HFE gene consistent with a diagnosis of HH. Post-mortem examination revealed widespread haemosiderin deposition in the liver along with lung pathology in keeping with severe COVID-19 and widespread splenic infarctions. CONCLUSION: An association between HH and COVID-19 is not currently described in the literature. What does exist, however, is an evidence base for the detrimental impacts iron overload has on viral infections in general and the negative effects of HH on the immune system. We therefore postulate that the underlying metabolic and immune disturbances seen in HH should be considered a potential risk factor for the development of severe COVID-19. This case also adds to the evidence that hyperinflammation appears to be a unique and interesting characteristic of this novel viral disease.

2.
Clin Infect Pract ; 7: 100033, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-343694

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The potential risk of cytokine storm in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been described [1]; we write to share our experience treating a 17-year-old male with haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) secondary to COVID-19 infection. CASE REPORT: This patient presented with cough, sore throat, anorexia and pyrexia. On examination, he had gross cervical lymphadenopathy and palpable splenomegaly. Nose and throat swab for SARS-CoV-2 was positive and blood tests revealed pancytopaenia with very high ferritin, triglyceride and d-dimer levels. The patient's H-Score [2] was calculated at 220, suggesting probability of HLH of 93-96%. Considering Russell and colleagues' [3] comments about potential harm of corticosteroid use in patients with COVID-19 infection, the patient was commenced on treatment with the selective IL-1 receptor antagonist drug, Anakinra, and a two-day course of intravenous immunoglobulin. RESULTS: The patient responded rapidly to treatment, becoming apyrexial after 24 h. His lymph nodes and spleen began to normalise after the first 48 h, at which time point the ferritin also started to decrease. He was discharged after 11 days feeling fit and well. CONCLUSION: This case certainly illustrates the importance of hyperinflammation syndromes in COVID-19. It also raises the question - is the severe pneumonitis seen in patients with COVID-19 an immunological phenomenon? We know that the viral load of patients with COVID-19 seems to peak in the early stages of illness [4,5]; however, patients deteriorate later in the disease course, at around days 10-14. This patient, who had risk factors for deterioration (male, pancytopaenic), did not develop an oxygen requirement and clinically and biochemically improved rapidly on Anakinra with no adverse events. We might suggest Anakinra to the scientific community as a treatment option in COVID-19 infection.

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