Woman Suffers Brain Fluid Leak After COVID-19 Nasal Swab Test
A COVID-19 nasal swab test perforated a U.S. woman’s brain lining, making fluid to leak from her brain and putting her at extreme danger of life-threatening infections, a new report says.
The test carried on the patient, who is in her 40s, may have been performed improperly, the report argues, so the risk from nasal tests is not that high. However, Jarrett Walsh, senior author of the paper, says her case showed once again that healthcare professionals should make sure they follow the protocols closely. Also, people who have had extensive sinus or skull base surgery should request oral testing, he said.
Ear, nose and throat specialist Dennis Kraus of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, added: “It underscores the necessity of adequate training of those performing the test and the need for vigilance after the test has been performed.”
High-Quality Training is Needed
Walsh said that the woman had been tested with a nasal swab ahead of elective hernia surgery, and afterward noticed fluid leaking from one side of her nose. She then developed headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, and aversion to light.
A few years back, the woman has been treated for intracranial hypertension and later developed encephalocele, a condition at the base of the skull, which makes the brain’s lining stick out into the nose where it was vulnerable to rupture. The condition went unnoticed until old scans were analyzed by her new doctors, who performed surgery on her back in July to repair the defect. She recovered completely from the surgery only for the area to be affected again.
Testing protocols ask for healthcare professionals to follow the path of the floor of the nose, which is located above the roof of the mouth, instead of pointing the swab up. Walsh also said that this case is a reminder of the need for high-quality training, considering that millions of people have received the test, and some more tests will be performed in the following weeks.