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Spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage presenting in a patient with vitamin K deficiency and COVID-19: illustrative case

Nathaniel R. Ellens and Howard J. Silberstein

BACKGROUND

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is known to cause more severe symptoms in the adult population, but pediatric patients may experience severe neurological symptoms, including encephalopathy, seizures, and meningeal signs. COVID-19 has also been implicated in both ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebrovascular events. This virus inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, decreasing angiotensin (1–7), decreasing vagal tone, disrupting blood pressure autoregulation, and contributing to a systemic vascular inflammatory response, all of which may further increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage. However, there has only been one reported case of intracranial hemorrhage developing in a pediatric patient with COVID-19.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors discuss the first case of a pediatric patient with COVID-19 presenting with intracranial hemorrhage. This patient presented with lethargy and a bulging fontanelle and was found to have extensive intracranial hemorrhage with hydrocephalus. Laboratory tests were consistent with hyponatremia and vitamin K deficiency. Despite emergency ventriculostomy placement, the patient died of his disease.

LESSONS

This case demonstrates an association between COVID-19 and intracranial hemorrhage, and the authors have described several different mechanisms by which the virus may potentiate this process. This role of COVID-19 may be particularly important in patients who are already at a higher risk of intracranial hemorrhage, such as those with vitamin K deficiency.