All Round View (Peshawar): Doctors, in a medical journal, said that a COVID-19 nasal swab test ruptured a US woman’s brain lining, causing fluid to leak from her nose and putting her at risk of life-threatening infection.
The patient, who is in her 40s, had an undiagnosed rare condition and the test she received may have been carried out inaccurately, a sequence of debatable events that means the risk from nasal tests remains very low. But her case showed health care professionals should take care to follow testing protocols closely, says Jarrett Walsh.
People who’ve had extensive sinus or skull base surgery should consider requesting oral testing if available, he added.
Walsh, who practices at the University of Iowa Hospital, said the woman had gone for a nasal test ahead of elective hernia surgery, and afterwards noticed clear fluid coming out of one side of her nose.
She afterwards developed a headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, and aversion to light, and was transferred to Walsh’s care.
“She had been swabbed previously for another procedure, same side, no problems at all. She feels like maybe the second swab was not using the best technique and that the entry was a little bit high,” he said.
In fact, the woman had been treated years earlier for intracranial hypertension — meaning that the pressure from the cerebrospinal fluid that protects and nourishes the brain was too high.
Doctors at the time used a shunt to drain some of the fluid and the condition resolved.
But it caused her to develop what’s called an encephalocele, or a shortcoming at the base of the skull which made the brain’s lining protrude into the nose where it was susceptible to rupture.
This went unnoticed until old scans were reviewed by her new doctors, who carried out surgery to repair the defect in July.
She has since fully recovered.