March 17, 2021
A woman in Texas leaked spinal fluid after a nasal swab test for Covid-19, which punctured tissue in her brain 3 weeks back. The fluid turned out to be spinal liquid, which leaked because of a tear in her dura mater, a membrane that saves the central nervous system.
The woman named Chari Timm went to a San Antonio hospital after feeling chest pain and she was then suggested for a heart diagnostic exam later last month, as reported by KFOX14. She was told she needed a Corona test before getting any further testing related to her actual reason for pain, though.
When a nurse administrated the nasal swab test, Timm said that she felt fervid pain almost immediately. She said that it hurt; it was an immediate instant migraine. I’ve never had a migraine in my life before.
The fluid turned out to be spinal liquid, which leaked because of a tear in her dura mater, a membrane that saves the central nervous system.
A neurologist later tested Timm with pneumocephalus, a rare cranial condition involving air inside the cranial cavity that is typically related to skull damage.
She said that it will require surgery for the rupture to get repaired; she had to remain at a 30-45 degree angle at all times. She also said that she has to be careful with the air she breathes as bacteria may get in through the injury.
It wasn’t the first case of brain leak after the Covid-19 test. Last fall, the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery revealed that anonymous women went through similar cerebrospinal liquid loss after a testing swab punctured a part of the brain that had the fluid.
One new study published in the journal advices that people having a history of significant sinus issues likely should keep away from nasal swab testing. The care workers administrating the test must ask the patients if they have had any sinus or skull surgery, the report alerts.
Bony partitions between the nasal cavity and skull base are frequently removed in sinus and skull base surgery; it results in the exposure of delicate neurovascular structure. Post-surgery, the patients are at higher risk of cerebrospinal fluid leak and neurovascular harm during swab insertion, the study states.
The other methods of testing like the back of the throat should be conducted said Dr Phillip Chen, one of the authors of the study and a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The Dr. further added that in a review of online videos related to nasal swab testing practices, half of them were not correct in terms of how to perform Covid-19 nasopharyngeal swab. Few of them promoting wrong swab angling and depth.
Chen further said that from the 200 sites they searched online, not one of them had information warning against blind nasopharyngeal swab testing in those cases having a history of sinus or skull base surgery.
For latest updates on the outbreak check out our Coronavirus Coverage.