eLetters

320 e-Letters

  • Utilization of the Brighton Collaboration consensus case definition for the standardized assessment of sensorineural hearing loss in COVID-19 related hearing loss

    To the authors:
    We read with interest the article entitled “Sudden irreversible hearing loss post COVID-19”.1 In this article, the authors presented an unusual case of a 45 year-old gentleman with sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) after COVID-19 infection and treatment. In their literature review, five other case reports were cited with hearing loss noted after COVID-19.2-6 The patient in the case report experienced a decrease in his left sided hearing 1 week after his intensive care unit stay for COVID-19 treatment. His initial hearing loss was evaluated at the bedside with a tuning fork examination showing negative Rinne’s test on the side of reported hearing loss, and Weber’s test lateralizing to the side opposite to his hearing loss, which is consistent with SNHL of the affected side. He then had a 7 day treatment course of 60mg oral Prednisone daily in addition to a series of intratympanic steroid injection. His hearing loss was documented with elevated hearing thresholds of 65, 75, 75, and 85 dB at 2, 3, 4, and 6 kHz.
    As multiple countries across all continents are facing the effects of the pandemic, our understanding of the various immediate and long-term complications of COVID-19 is evolving. SNHL is one of these complications. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has developed a Brighton Collaboration case definition of SNHL to be utilized in the evaluation of adverse events following immunization, which can also be...

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  • More to investigate and more to treat

    We read the article published by Jaikaran O. et al on ‘Portomesenteric thrombosis after robotic sleeve gastrectomy’ with great interest. The reported about a morbid obese patient having porto-mesentric thrombosis after robotic sleeve gastrectomy due to obesity and mutation in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) mutation. However, we have few factors to report on this aspect.

    Firstly, MTHFR enzyme dysfunction leads to hyperhomocysteinemia which leads to hypercoagulation state. Yet, the magnitude of this state is affected via degree of enzyme deficiency/dysfunction which is dependent on presence of heterogeneous/ homogenous mutation in enzyme gene. So, the authors must assess for the presence of hyperhomocysteinemia along with assessment of mutation.[1,2] Also the genetic homogeneity of the mutation must be assessed as heterogeneous mutation will have less effect on blood homocysteine levels.[3]

    Next, the importance of folic acid for management of thrombotic state due to hyperhomocysteinemia must be considered. The patient has undergone sleeve gastrectomy which may further aggravate her vitamin and micronutrient deficiency. The administration of folic acid (instead of aspirin) will decrease the blood homocysteine levels and reduce the risk of hypercoagulation.[4]

    References:
    1. Friso S, Girelli D, Trabetti E, Stranieri C, Olivieri O, Tinazzi E, Martinelli N, Faccini G, Pignatti PF, Corrocher R. A1298C methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase mu...

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  • Diagnosis, Plausible but Difficult to Establish.

    Some more information will make the Case Presentation more Illuminating and Educative, such as:
    1) What was Central Venous Pressure,
    2) If patient was, presumably Conscious, Oriented, Able to take Food and Fluids by Mouth, could the Intravenous Administration of Fluids be avoided,
    3) How did the Elevated Blood Pressure evolved during Hospitalization, either with or without Medications,
    4) What was Patient's Diet and Fluid Intake Both Quantitative and Qualitative during the Hospitalization,
    5) Whether the Patient took any Formal or Alternative Medicines or Home Remedies for Coryza he had Two Weeks before Episode of Shortness of Breath, that could have caused Autoimmune Hemolysis.
    5) If the Patient's Blood Pressure before Present Illnesses was known and if he took any medications for it and any other conditions eg Bleeding per Rectum,
    6) What were the instructions including those regarding medications diet and follow-up given to the Patient at the time of Discharge.
    The Authors need to be complimented for seeing the patient through the crisis and The BMJ be thanked for bringing it up to the Readers.

  • Cheiro-oral syndrome secondary to thalamic infarction: a clinical syndrome a physician should know

    Dear editor,
    The case report of published in BMI Case Reports 2020 Oct 29;13(10):e236017 by Ong et al. further expanded the knowledge of cheiro-oral syndrome, an incomplete sensory disorder, in clinical practice. Regarding to the classification of cheiro-oral syndrome, authors cited for Satpute et al. (2013), who clearly described the vascular anatomy of thalamus relating to the clinical picture of sensory and other neurological deficits, including some incomplete sensory syndromes. Bogousslavsky et al. (1988) had reported similar results before. However, to my understanding, the four types of cheiro-oral syndrome was firstly suggested by Chen WH (2009).

    1.Bogousslavsky J, Regli F, Uske A. Thalamic Infarcts: clinical syndromes, etiology, and prognosis. Neurology. 1988;38:837–848.
    2.Chen WH. Cheiro-Oral Syndrome: A Clinical Analysis and Review of Literature. Yonsei Med J. 2009;50(6):777–783.
    3.Satpute S, Bergquist J, Cole JW. Cheiro-Oral syndrome secondary to thalamic infarction: a case report and literature review. Neurologist 2013;19:22–5.

  • Lets call EVALI what it is: THC VALI

    To the editor,
    The authors of this article appear to be unaware that the cause of "EVALI" was identified almost a year ago. To quote Dr Ann Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of CDC in December, 2019: "we can conclude that what I call the explosive outbreak of cases of EVALI can be attributed to exposure to THC-containing vaping products that also contained Vitamin E acetate." (1). This followed publication in NEJM of a study which noted that "Vitamin E acetate was identified in BAL fluid obtained from 48 of 51 case patients (94%) in 16 states but not in such fluid obtained from the healthy comparator group." It also noted that "47 of 50 (94%) had detectable tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or its metabolites in BAL fluid or had reported vaping THC products." It is widely known that people who have become ill due to use of illicit products, such as THC vapes, do not always tell the truth about the illegal products they used. The NEJM study also reported that "9 of 11 patients who reported no use of THC-containing e-cigarette products in the 90 days before the onset of illness had detectable THC or its metabolites in their BAL fluid." These and numerous other studies have clarified that EVALI is caused by vaping THC products contaminated by vitamin E Acetate. Since the cause became clear in December 2019, identification of new cases of this disease dropped markedly, and in February 2020 CDC stopped reporting new cases. We...

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  • Selumetinib should be preferred to a surgical approach in case of extensive plexiform neurofibromas

    Dear Editor,
    we found the case report of Banthia et al. extremely interesting. First of all, penile plexiform neurofibromas are quite infrequent. Secondly, the subject described did not have a former clinical diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type I prior to the identification of this tumor, which is even rarer. However, we take exception to the therapeutic approach chosen by the authors. In fact, the surgical treatment of deep and extended plexiform neurofibromas is generally unsatisfactory, since their complete resection is frequently unattainable, allowing the masses to grow back (1-2). A partial tumor debulking should be considered only in case of high-risk conditions, such as a urethral or ureteral compression or a bowel obstruction. Apart from these scenarios, a medical approach should always be preferred, at least as a first attempt.
    Selumetinib, an inhibitor of MEK 1 and 2 kinase, has demonstrated to be effective in reducing the size of plexiform neurofibromas in pediatric patients (3-4). The drug is generally well tolerated and safe in the pediatric population. Only few patients failed to show a clinical response to the treatment and even fewer had to stop it due to the appearance of severe adverse events.
    In a recent study, we reported a cohort of nine patients with inoperable plexiform neurofibromas treated with selumetinib (5). Eight of them showed a partial response to the drug, i.e. a reduction of the tumor size by more than 20%. Remarkably, on...

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  • Association or coincidence?

    The authors describe a single patient who tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 and had sensorineural hearing loss.
    In their article they mention that the annual incidence of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is between 5 and 160 patients per 100,000.
    The current population of the UK is 67.866.011 according to the latest data (https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/uk-demographics/, accessed 18th October 2020).
    This therefore suggests that there will be between 3,393 and 108,585 patients presenting with SSNHL in the UK this year. Accepting that we have not completed the year we can expect around 80% of the above figures to represent the expected incidence so far i.e. somewhere between 2,714 and 86,868 patients experiencing SSNHL.
    The estimated incidence of Covid in the UK population is 0.62%, or 1 in 160 people have so far had Covid.
    Therefore, purely by statistics alone, the number of patients with both Covid and SSNHL should lie somewhere between 17 and 543.
    Whilst the authors make no claim that in their presented case the Covid was directly responsible for the SSNHL it seems surprising that this article was published by the BMJ as it stands without the authors making any attempt to discern the true incidence of SSNHL in patients with Covid.

  • We're All Not the Same, But We're Still Family

    Dear Editor:
    We read with great interest the case report published by De Silva and Winship1 in the September 2020 issue of this journal. They reported the medical history of a 52-year-old male patient who fulfilled the revised Chompret clinical criteria for Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) and carried a germline CHEK2 mutation (NM_007194.4:c.1100del, p.Thr367fs). The authors highlighted the possible link between CHEK2 germline mutations and a Li-Fraumeni like syndrome phenotype.
    The term Li-Fraumeni like syndrome (LFL) was introduced by Birch et al. in 1994 to describe LFS families who did not fulfill the classical LFS criteria, but carried a TP53 germline mutation.2,3 Nevertheless, germline mutations in TP53 gene may not detected in some families with clinical diagnosis of the syndrome. In 1999, Bells et al. reported a family who fulfilled classical LFS criteria and carried a CHEK2 pathogenic mutation, c.1100delC.4 At that time, the authors hypothesized for the first time that heterozygous CHEK2 mutations could be related to LFS phenotype. BRCA2 germline mutations were also described in TP53-negative LFS families.5
    Most cancer predisposition syndromes have an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance with incomplete penetrance and variable clinical expressivity. Genetic and environmental modifiers play a role in intra and interfamilial heterogeneity.8 Environmental modifiers were not mentioned by De Silva and Winship, and should have been described in the c...

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  • Is this a Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy or a re-canalising spontaneous coronary artery dissection in this COVID positive pregnant lady?

    To the Editor,

    I have read the recent publication in the Journal by Bhattacharyya PJ, et al. BMJ Case Rep 2020;13:e239104. doi:10.1136/bcr-2020-239104 with interest, however I would propose a different interpretation of their case.

    The authors present a case of the Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TC) in a 38 weeks pregnant patient with COVID 19 positive presentation.
    They showed that the apical dyskinesis was reversible 2 weeks after her presentation which is one of the features of TC. Nevertheless, the invasive coronary angiography that coincided with the day of the repeat echocardiography (2 weeks after presentation) in my opinion could be in keeping with a revascularized spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) of the mid LAD, hence the improved flow and recovery of the previously stunned apical left ventricular myocardium. The limited coronary angiographic images show a typical appearance of re-canalising SCAD with the abrupt caliber change of the LAD and the long segments circular and smooth caliber difference indicated by the white arrows on the original image.

    It is known that pregnancy predisposes ladies to SCAD and lately we learnt that the COVID-19 inflammatory milieu enhances endothelial vulnerability.

    This is an interesting case and the cardiologists and general physicians should all be aware of this type of presentation during COVID 19.

  • Reply to Response to the article " Use of the facial artery-based cutaneous island flap (melo-labial flap) for reconstruction of the neopharynx following total laryngectomy: a novel technique": Not a Novel Technique

    We read the response to our case report published in BMJ case reports " Use of the facial artery-based cutaneous island flap (melo-labial flap) for reconstruction of the neopharynx following total laryngectomy: a novel technique"[1]
    We would like to clarify that there is a difference between a new flap and a new technique. A new flap is the one described for the first time in the literature. Contrary to that in a novel technique either a previously described flap or a new flap is used for an indication which has no mention in the literature. Pedicled islanded nasolabial flap have been used in a number of ways and the the cited references by Dr M Alam et al are about its use for floor of mouth reconstruction or for cervical oesophagus for stricture correction. We have also published one such series recently for its versatile use in head neck reconstruction. [2]

    To the best of our knowledge it has not been used for a neopharyngeal reconstruction following total laryngectomy and partial pharyngectomy and hence titled as the Novel Technique of neopharyngeal reconstruction.

    We refute the statement made by Alam et al in there comment " 5. It is submitted that the rightful credit and recognition belongs to the authors who described the islanded skin flap based on facial vessels in the 1980s. It is not a novel flap christened as DK Gupta flap." and reiterate again that " Use of the facial artery-based cutaneous island flap (mel...

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