'Bone Death': New post-coronavirus condition emerges, 3 cases reported
At least three confirmed cases of Avascular Necrosis (AVN) or the death of bone tissues have been reported among coronavirus survivors in Mumbai, The Times of India reported. Doctors fear AVN could be the next dreadful condition in post-coronavirus patients after the deadly outbreak of mucormycosis or Black fungus in India. Here's what we know so far.
What is AVN?
AVN is the death of bone tissues due to a lack of blood supply. It can lead to tiny breaks in the bone, causing the bone's eventual collapse. Though anyone can get affected by it, the condition is most commonly seen in people aged between 30 and 50. Treatments for the disease include physiotherapy, surgery, and medication.
What are the symptoms?
There are usually no symptoms in early stages, but as the condition worsens, it might lead to pain in joints of several body areas, including the hip, shoulder, knee, hand, and feet. You should see your doctor if you have persistent pain in any joint.
All 3 patients were aged under 40
The three patients in Mumbai underwent treatment at Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, two months after they were treated for the coronavirus. All three were aged under 40. "These patients developed pain in their femur bone (the highest part of the thigh bone) and, since they were doctors, they recognized the symptoms and rushed for treatment," Dr. Sanjay Agarwala said, according to The Times of India.
Use of steroids a likely cause of AVN
Other orthopedic specialists told the publication that they have also seen a few cases among post-COVID-19 patients. Doctors say a likely cause of AVN in such patients is the use of steroids during coronavirus treatment, as was the case with Black fungus. "In patients who have suffered from long-COVID-19 and needed steroids, this is a worry," said a Mumbai-based doctor.
More cases expected in coming months, doctors say
Doctors say cases of AVN are expected to rise in the next few months because the condition "usually occurs five to six months after steroid use." "Our second COVID-19 wave's peak was in April when steroids were liberally used to treat patients, so we may see it soon," Dr. Rahul Pandit said. Since the said three patients sought treatment early, they didn't require surgery.
India's coronavirus situation
India had faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak earlier this year. Daily cases in the country had peaked at 4,14,000 in May. The situation has since improved. In the past 24 hours, the country reported nearly 40,000 new infections. India's death toll has crossed four lakh. Meanwhile, experts have warned that a third wave of COVID-19 could hit India by October.