eLetters

339 e-Letters

  • Therapeutic strategy of Malignant glioma and the fetal-maternal wellbeing

    Dear Dr. Biswas,
    In their recent article ‘Anaplastic astrocytoma during pregnancy: the importance of an effective multidisciplinary approach’, Filippi and colleagues described the therapeutic strategy for a pregnant patient whose left parietal glioma was discovered after a new-onset generalized seizure [1]. Following the multidisciplinary conference, they planned to attain a full-term pregnancy with staged tumor resection. First, the mass reduction was performed with neuronavigation and fluorescence-guided surgery using 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) under general anesthesia. Then awake craniotomy was planned for the residual tumor removal after delivery. Although the authors have provided excellent perioperative care for this complicated case, we have some reservations about the therapeutic strategy for malignant glioma in a pregnant patient.
    The guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of gliomas, released by the European Association for Neuro-Oncology, present the following management options for newly diagnosed malignant glioma: resection or biopsy, followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy (or combined modality treatment) [2]. In pregnant patients, the neurosurgical intervention for a malignant tumor is recommended regardless of gestational age, although the 32 week gestation point is generally used as the cutoff [3]. The extent of glioma resection is a decisive prognosis factor irrespective of tumor subtype [4]. In view of the absence of information on th...

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  • Response from authors
    Thank you for your correspondence. 
     
    We reported this case as a possible early association during the first wave when it was impossible to discern whether there was a true connection between COVID and SSNHL, let alone determine the incidence. The paper was clear that direct causation wasn’t proven, but it served to highlight the importance of prompt treatment of SSNHL which is often associated with viral aetiologies. 
     
    The case report was written to create early awareness of a possible link. Since then, a BRC funded team in Manchester have published a systematic review linking the two and are also undertaking a year-long study into the association. An NIHR/BRC team in Nottingham are doing similarly. 
     
    ...
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  • Treat all Caffeinated Beverages Equally

    The authors implicate caffeine as the causative agent of the cardiomyopathy in this case, caffeine being the main active ingredient within energy drinks. They ask that we enquire about energy drinks within our social histories; consumption of caffeinated products indeed not part of a standard cardiovascular history (1).

    It is therefore conspicuous that within the article there are no calls to enquire about other, more widely used caffeine containing products, specifically tea and coffee. Dare I say, we would be unlikely to baulk at the idea of a patient drinking three or four coffees in a day. In fact, on the wards we offer patients tea or coffee eight times a day, yet think little of the caffeine burden we are imposing upon them. This almost tacit caffeine consumption is unlikely to make it into the medical notes, yet these patients would potentially be consuming levels of caffeine far in excess of the quantity consumed in this case report.

    We seem to apply different value judgements to different drinks, assuming those drinking excess caffeine from expensive coffee machines are doing so knowingly, and as part of a healthy lifestyle. Yet we don’t afford those choosing to consume energy drinks with the same level of ability to make an informed choice. We medicalise the consumption of such drinks, assuming those using them must be doing so for sinister reasons.

    We should treat all caffeinated products equally, given there is no pharmacological differen...

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  • Response to eletter
    Thanks for the comments on our manuscript entitled "Plexiform neurofibromatosis of penis: a rare presentation of type 1 neurofibromatosis."
     
    We think that this is a very good suggestion for treating such cases. Selumetinib has been found to be effective to treat neurofibromatosis type 1 in children 2 years of age and older. It is an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase and has been recommended as a first-line therapy approved for paediatric neurofibromatosis patients who have inoperable and bulky lesions. 
    Selumetinib therapy was a good option for this particular child but there were several reasons to choose surgery for this patient. Firstly the deformity was unsightly and grotesque considering the almost double length of the penis was leading to social discrimination, peer pressure and solitary life for this child. The patient has been rehabilitated with just one surgical operation in which after debulking the penile size is within socially acceptable limits. S...
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  • Additional ST elevation in V1 and mild inferolateral ST depression

    A close comparison of baseline and exercise ECGs show mild ST elevation in V1 and mild inferolateral ST depression. Though the ST depression is mostly slow upsloping type, in lead I and V6 it is almost horizontal. The magnified view of the ECG makes ST elevation in V1 quite clear.

  • Aza induced hyperglycemia

    The author proposes two possible mechanisms for Aza induced hyperglycemia 1. Impaired beta cell function in pancreas via epigenetic mechanism 2. Increased secretion of cortisol. I suggest another possibility. A recent paper by Strand et al reports that Aza, a DNMT1 inhibitor, is a potent inducer of PTEN (this work done in vascular smooth muscle cells). It is well known that PTEN is an inhibitor of downstream elements of the insulin pathway, specifically PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway and this results in insulin resistance. I suggest that the hyperglycemic activity of Aza is by PTEN induction of insulin resistance.
    Strand KA, Lu S, Mutryn MF, et al. High Throughput Screen Identifies the DNMT1 (DNA Methyltransferase-1) Inhibitor, 5-Azacytidine, as a Potent Inducer of PTEN. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2020;40:1854–1869.

  • Consistent messaging in airway emergencies

    We thank Dr Yap and colleagues for describing clearly the successful management of an unexpectedly challenging airway.1 We agree that the index case highlights the need for vigilance in all patients requiring airway management, particularly where an atypical presentation of a respiratory condition may indicate occult airway pathology.2 However, the case raises a number of important issues for airway assessment, intubation-related laryngeal pathology and the management of ‘can’t intubate, can’t ventilate’ scenarios which warrant further discussion, considered below.

    Airway assessment can be encapsulated by the quote, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life,” attributed the 19th Century English poet William Blake. Whilst subtle, there were a number of clues in the described case report that could, and perhaps should, have prompted a more thorough evaluation of the airway. It is surprising that the patient did not report their extreme prematurity at birth, or the fact that they spent the first year of their life in hospital. This would have almost certainly have involved prolonged ventilation and sequelae into childhood. Respiratory and airway complications are well recognised in premature neonates and may coexist.3 The authors highlight the Difficult Airway Society’s airway algorithms and the fact that any clinician managing an airway should prepare for failure.4-6 This should involve an examination of the front...

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  • A Ticking Time Bomb – incidental finding of a giant thoracoabdominal aneurysm

    Dear Editor,

    Giant aortic aneurysm is a rare clinical entity. They may present with typical features of chest pain or abdominal pain, or most feared complications with dissection and rupture. However, an asymptomatic and unruptured giant thoracic aneurysm is extremely rare with only two case reports in the literature.

    I had a similar case which an 80-year-old lady admitted to a local district general hospital with a 5 day history of productive cough with shivers, which she was tested positive for COVID-19 on admission.

    Diagnostic workup demonstrated an incidental finding of a giant TAAA. Her case was referred to a tertiary hospital for vascular Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) discussion and planning.

    It was decided that for her to have pre-operative assessment and MDT discussion after her recovery from infection to have a definitive management of the TAAA. The patient is currently being managed supportively in hospital.

    According to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), asymptomatic and 5.5 cm or larger aneurysm should be considered for repair. The case should be discussed in terms of the overall balance of benefits and risks with repair and conservative management, based on the current status of health and the expected future health. In this case, it was deemed that the risk of proceeding with repair at present outweighed the benefits.

    Incidental finding of a giant AAA/TAAA is rare. It emphasises the importance...

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  • Misguided case study

    Exogenous anabolic steroids are not a direct causative factor of glucocorticoid excess as stated by the authors. Although the phenotypes of injury (i.e., collagen infiltration, fibrosis, lowered ejection fraction via LVH) are similar as mentioned per Youssef et al. (2011), the primary evidence (reference #1; Delivanis et al., 2020) used to claim that glucocorticoid excess results from AAS does not mention exogenous androgen derivatives (AAS) anywhere in the entire Chapter 15. Let us not forget the AAS are androgens, not mineralocorticoids. Endogenous androgen increases (or excess) from pathological disorders were the only androgens mentioned in Delivanis et al. (2020) and the only citations (Delivanis et al., 2020; #189-191) in this primary cited evidence, in no manner, shape, or form, supports the inclusion of AAS to make an extrapolation that glucocorticoid resistance results from exogenous androgens (AAS) but only that glucocorticoid resistance can result from excess endogenous androgens due to various pathologies.

    Using high-index value topics like anabolic-androgenic steroids to support a case report that does not involve AAS, seems to be more of either ignorance of the AAS literature or misinterpretation of endogenous androgen excess and exogenous androgen abuse.

    The case does draw nice parallels between the phenotypes of injury (cortisol excess) and anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse, particularly activation of the RAAS. However, Youssef et al. (2011)...

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  • 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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