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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan




Acute Bacterial Hemorrhagic Pyelonephritis in a COVID-19 Patient With a History of Hypothyroidism: A Case Report.



Since its initial reporting in December 2019, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has emerged as a global health problem after its official declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, with an estimated 346 million cases and over 5.9 million fatalities as of January 22, 2022. Studies on the prevalence of COVID-19 among severe cases have shown that comorbidities and risk factors such as obesity, increased aging, and chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases play a role in the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections. The interactions between such factors and their involvement with the progression of infection and mortality remain unclear. While it is known that SARS-CoV-2 damages the lungs, various morbidities such as acute kidney disease and thyroid dysregulation have recently emerged in symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Conditions that alter thyroid hormones, which play a critical role in regulating metabolic pathways, have a role in the level of infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2. The capability of the SARS-CoV-2 to invade and affect any organ system is dependent on its access to the angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) commonly expressed among various host cells. This binding puts any system at high risk of direct viral injury, inevitably creating an excessively high concentration of anti-inflammatory mediators and cytokines to predispose COVID-19 patients to a state of severe immunosuppression. This case report describes a 62-year-old female who tested positive for COVID-19, with a medical history of hypothyroidism, who presented with a unique combination of acute bacterial hemorrhagic pyelonephritis and ureteral obstruction. She experienced intermittent dysuria, urinary urgency, and hematuria over the past five days. She developed chills, diaphoresis, nausea, and vomiting after administering acetaminophen for her headache. Ageusia and anosmia accompanied her respiratory illnesses despite receiving the Pfizer double dose vaccine six months before her arrival. A computerized tomography (CT) scan revealed severe to moderate inflammation surrounding the enlarged kidney with a 1 mm ureteral stone. Blood and urine cultures showed the growth of gram-negative bacilli. Chest X-rays displayed a patchy appearance in the right infrahilar airspace, reflecting atelectasis in part for the diagnosis of COVID-19 with additional laboratory findings of profoundly elevated C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, and d-dimer levels. Abdominal CT scans revealed a hemorrhagic ureteral obstruction and massive swelling of the renal parenchyma persistent to pyelonephritis and hydronephrosis.