Vocal Cord Paralysis: In a recent study, researchers reported the first pediatric case of vocal cord paralysis following COVID-19 infection. The paralysis was probably a side effect of the viral infection, according to the physician-researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital in the United States, and it might be another addition to the “well-established” nervous system-related or neuropathic complications seen in kids and adults.
Vocal Cord Paralysis Cases
The patient, a female 15-year-old who was generally in good health, was brought to the emergency room 13 days after being diagnosed with acute onset shortness of breath due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, as the researchers detailed in their publication in the journal Paediatrics. She had a past filled with worry and asthma.
Bilateral vocal cord paralysis, which is defined as the immobility of both vocal cords located in the voice box, or “larynx,” was discovered during an endoscopic examination, according to the researchers.
“First author Danielle Reny Larrow, a resident in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, stated that this newly recognised potential complication should be considered in any child presenting with a breathing, talking, or swallowing complaint after a recent COVID-19 diagnosis, considering how common this virus is among children.”
“This is especially important as such complaints could be easily attributed to more common diagnoses such as asthma,” stated Dr. Larrow.
According to the researchers, the patient underwent a comprehensive battery of diagnostic tests while in the hospital. These tests included blood work, imaging, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and consultations with specialists in otolaryngology (a branch of medicine that treats disorders of the ear, nose, and throat), neurology, psychiatry, speech language pathology, and neurosurgery.
The doctors conducted a tracheostomy, a surgically produced opening in the windpipe, to relieve the patient’s breathing difficulties after speech therapy failed to alleviate the patient’s symptoms.
They reported that she remained tracheostomy-dependent for more than 13 months after initial treatment, suggesting that this type of nerve complication may not be temporary.
They said were able to remove it fifteen months after insertion following a case report submission.
Describing it as “highly unusual”, the team said that this was the first report of an adolescent experiencing post-viral neuropathy, which is known to cause vocal cord paralysis, even as several adults have reported this complication as a result of COVID-19 infection.
“The fact that kids can actually have long term neurotrophic effects from COVID-19 is something that it’s important for the broader pediatric community to be aware of in order to be able to treat our kids well,” said senior author Christopher Hartnick, director of the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology and Pediatric Airway, Voice, and Swallowing Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
“It’s critical for the paediatric community at large to understand that children can experience long-term neurotrophic effects from COVID-19 in order to provide the best care possible for our children,” stated senior author Christopher Hartnick, who oversees the Division of Paediatric Otolaryngology and the Paediatric Airway, Voice, and Swallowing Centre at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. – VOCAL CORD PARALYSIS