Acute Leukoencephalopathy with Restricted Diffusion in an Infant with Severe COVID-19 and Dengue Coinfection Progressing to West Syndrome

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J Trop Pediatr. 2021 May 17;67(2):fmab026. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmab026.

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly being recognized in infants and some develop cytokine storm mediated tissue damage. We report 5-month-old infant presenting with fever, refusal of feeds, developing altered sensorium and convulsions during the hospital course, tested positive for SARS-CoV2 RT-PCR in second week of illness. Her serology was also Dengue positive. She had features of cytokine storm and her MRI Brain suggested acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis (ADEM). She was treated with high-dose methylprednisolone followed oral prednisolone, under antibiotics cover. Infant improved gradually over 3 weeks duration following a stormy hospital course. On follow-up, infant showed delayed motor milestones with epileptic spasms and hysparrhthymia on EEG, progressing to develop secondary West syndrome. Features of acute encephalopathy, hypercytokinemia and restricted diffusion on DWI-MRI, with post-encephalopathic epilepsy, pointed to a differential of ADEM-acute leukoencephalopathy with restricted diffusion (ALERD) as the primary diagnosis; establishing ALERD as a possible neurological complication of COVID-19 infection in infants. Timeline of events. There is a demonstrable fall in the inflammatory markers with clinical improvement following the start of intravenous methylprednisolone. Epileptic spasms and developmental delay with hypsarrhthymia noted on follow-up, suggestive of secondary West syndrome.

PMID:33998655 | DOI:10.1093/tropej/fmab026