Covid symptoms: Avascular necrosis could be a long Covid symptom affecting the bones

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Reports of avascular necrosis have been on the rise with doctors fearing there may be more cases in the next few months. The condition affects a person’s bones causing joint pain causing limited range of motion. How is avascular necrosis related to long Covid?

Avascular necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply and can lead to tiny breaks in the bone and the bone’s eventual collapse.

A broken bone or dislocated joint can interrupt the blood flow to a section of bone.

Avascular necrosis is also associated with long-term use of high-dose steroid medications and excessive alcohol intake.

Doctors have found some patients who were symptomatic developed the condition 58 days after being infected with COVID-19.

In a study published in BMJ, avascular necrosis as part of long COVID-19 symptoms was investigated.

Long COVID-19 is a term used to describe the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection that continue for weeks or months after the patient has recovered from COVID-19, noted the study.

It continued: “Emerging evidence suggests that COVID-19 adversely affects different human body systems as a part of ‘long COVID-19’, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, lung fibrosis, pulmonary thromboembolism, cardiomyopathy, sensory dysfunction and stroke.

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“At present, avascular necrosis (AVN) as a sequelae of ‘long COVID-19’ has yet not been documented.

“By large-scale use of life-saving corticosteroids in COVID-19 cases, we anticipate that there will be a resurgence of AVN cases.

“We report a series of three cases in which patients developed AVN of the femoral head after being treated for COVID-19 infection.”

The study found that post COVID-19, there is a greater propensity to develop AVN, mainly if the patient has been on steroids. 

What is avascular necrosis?

Avascular necrosis is a disease that results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bone, explained John Hopkins Medicine.

The health site continued: “When blood supply is cut off, the bone tissue dies and the bone collapses.

“If avascular necrosis happens near a joint, the joint surface may collapse.

“This condition may happen in any bone. It most commonly happens in the ends of a long bone. It may affect one bone, several bones at one time, or different bones at different times.”

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence describes long Covid as symptoms which last for more than 12 weeks.

Symptoms reported include fatigue, breathlessness, anxiety and depression, heart palpitations, chest pain, joint or muscle pain or brain fog.

Corticosteroids have been used for better management for COVID-19 however is has been reported they can be a predisposing factor for the development of avascular necrosis.
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