August 27, 2020

The Coronaviridae family and its genera coronaviruses have been implicated as having neurotropic and neuroinvasive capabilities in human hosts (Bohmwald 2018). They have been associated with the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms, seizure activity, encephalomyelitis, acute flaccid paralysis, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as well as cerebrovascular disease (Bohmwald 2018, St Jean 2004). Recently, there has been a growing body of evidence supporting the association of SARS-CoV2 with neurological abnormalities. A systematic review looking at the incidence of secondary neurological disease in patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV2 found rates to vary from 6-36.4% (Herman 2020). At the time of this submission, there have been ten reports of acute transverse myelitis (ATM) attributed to SARS-CoV2, and others are currently being submitted or are in pre-print at this time (See infographic below). ATM has a varied presentation and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality that necessitates increased awareness and vigilance on the part of the clinician. This has become especially important in light of a possible causal link of ATM to SARS-CoV2 with emerging cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we review the salient features of infectious ATM (both para-infectious and post-infectious) to increase recognition of this disease entity.

August 17, 2020

Background: The most severe SARS-CoV-2 infections result in an intense inflammatory response which can lead to acute lung injury and/or acute respiratory distress syndrome.  Theoretically, potential treatments for severe disease should have anti-inflammatory action without substantial side effects. One candidate medication is colchicine, which has traditionally been used to treat gout and pericarditis. It has yet to be determined if the use of colchicine might improve clinical outcomes by its combination of anti-inflammatory action with an acceptable safety profile in patients with COVID-19.

August 6, 2020

Background: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues a number of challenges have arisen. Amongst these is the ability of clinicians to predict which patients will suffer from early decompensation. It is well established that there are patients that will rapidly decline while others, who initially present similarly, will continue without disease progression. A clinical decision instrument (CDI) to guide clinicians can be useful placing patients requiring hospital admission at the correct level of care without over-utilizing ICUs or, putting patients on the floors who will suffer from early decompensation.

July 6, 2020

Background: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an antimalarial and immunomodulatory drug that is postulated to exert an antiviral effect by increasing intracellular pH resulting in decreased viral binding at the ACE2 receptor. Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties which could help decrease viral replication and viral binding. Both of these medications have been used to treat COVID patients based on in vitro findings. However, in vitro studies often do not extrapolate to patient oriented outcomes. In June 2020 the US FDA revoked the prior emergency use authorization to HCQ and chloroquine (CQ) in patients with COVID-19. We now have yet another retrospective observational trial of HCQ, azithromycin, and the drugs in combination.

June 23, 2020

Background: We have been in need of a sign of hope in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 as it runs from city to city overwhelming health systems.  The majority of patients will be either asymptomatic or have only mild disease.  These patients will improve for the most part with symptomatic care.  There is a smaller portion of patients admitted to the hospital and ICU requiring oxygen therapy or invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV).  In this group of patients, there has not been much promise in the way of treatments improving mortality.  Patients requiring oxygen therapy (HFNC, NIV, IMV, ECMO) are mostly in the pulmonary and hyperinflammatory stage of disease (see below figure). One theoretical option in this hyperinflammatory stage of disease is corticosteroids to help quell the immune response and potentially improve mortality outcomes.