From the Journals

COVID-19 potentially induced adult-onset IgA vasculitis



Plasma exchange successfully improved symptoms of immunoglobulin A vasculitis in an adult female patient who developed the condition after infection with COVID-19, according to a case report published in Cureus.

Immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis can affect all ages, but is relatively rare in adults, and the etiology remains unclear, wrote Hassan Alwafi, MD, of Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, and colleagues.

COVID-19 has been associated with pulmonary and extrapulmonary complications, but COVID-19–induced IgA vasculitis has previously been described mainly in pediatric and older adult populations, the authors wrote.

The authors described a case of a 41-year-old otherwise healthy Saudi Arabian woman who presented with an ascending rash on both lower extremities, along with arthralgia. Blood tests showed high blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and inflammatory markers, and a negative immune panel. The patient had been infected with COVID-19 approximately 2 weeks before the onset of symptoms, but she was treated with supportive care and required no antiviral therapy of dexamethasone.

In addition, the patient’s urinalysis showed proteinuria and hematuria. After a kidney biopsy revealed additional abnormalities, the patient was started on intravenous methylprednisolone pulse therapy.

A few days after the initiation of therapy, the patient experienced nosebleeds and coughing up blood. After a chest x-ray showed bilateral pleural effusion, the patient was transferred to the ICU. The patient was started on intravenous piperacillin-tazobactam, and received two doses of intravenous immunoglobulin and plasma exchange after consultation with a nephrologist. Ultimately, the initial rash and other clinical symptoms improved, and the patient was discharged with a tapering schedule of oral prednisolone.

In this case, COVID-19 may have played a role in the development of IgA vasculitis, the authors said.

The authors also listed 21 cases of IgA vasculitis following COVID-19 infection, including 14 children and 7 adults. Of these, three cases had combined kidney and lung involvement, the two pediatric cases died from respiratory failure, while the adult case was successfully treated with steroid monotherapy.

“As COVID-19 is a novel disease and its pathogenic mechanism of causing IgA vasculitis is not well understood, every patient who is infected with or recently recovered from COVID-19 and presents with a skin rash or arthralgia should have baseline blood and urine tests done and should be treated promptly to avoid the emergence of irreversible consequences,” the authors wrote in their discussion.

Although case reports cannot prove a cause-and-effect link, the data from the cases in the current review suggest that COVID-19 infection may be an indirect trigger for IgA vasculitis, including cases associated with pulmonary renal syndrome, they said. However, more research is needed, especially on the efficacy of treatments in adults, they concluded.

The study received no outside funding. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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