Mumbai - It was a joyous occasion for Shri Mahadeo Deole, the ex-mayor of Mumbai, as he was discharged from Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) after a prolonged stay, in time to celebrate Ganesh Chaturti with his family. Diagnosed with COVD-19, Shri Deole recovered in the face of challenges due to his age and complications involving multiple organs due to the tireless efforts of the medical team. His 20 day journey to recovery from being wheeled into the ICU, given ventilator support and advanced multi-disciplinary management while remarkable and inspiring to patients is also a testament to the success of modern medical care and the commitment of the doctors.
It was in mid-July that Shri Deole, aged 80 years, was brought to KDAH with mild cough and high blood pressure. On examination, it was found that he also had mild fever and difficulty in breathing. His oxygen levels were checked and found to be drastically low. He was immediately admitted and further tests confirmed COVID-19 with severe pneumonia. His condition worsened and he had to be put on a ventilator. Dr. Annu Aggarwal, Consultant Neurologist, Centre for Neurosciences, KDAH said, “On admission, it was observed that not only his lungs but also his heart output was majorly compromised. He went into a deep coma for some time and when he woke up, he was disoriented and confused. Due to his frail health and severity of the disease, it was not possible to perform a MRI for almost three weeks. Finally when we were able to do a MRI, multiple small strokes were detected. It was apparent that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could have affected the brain cells.”
While COVID‑19 is primarily a respiratory disease affecting the lungs, with common symptoms of fever, dry cough, tiredness, and muscle pain, it also can have secondary effects on other organ systems of the body including the heart, brain, kidneys and digestive system. A study of around 350 patients with severe COVID 19 at KDAH has shown that around 20% had neurological issues, and of these, 40% suffered from severe neurological complications, especially the ones who had severe pneumonia and 20% suffered from strokes. Some developed seizures and even went into a coma. Other findings included hormonal imbalances affecting blood sugar levels even in non-diabetics, thyroid hormone levels, and high uncontrollable fever that could be fatal.
While some of the patients with neurological findings were in their mid-twenties without any risk factors, these patients suffered from severe strokes. These patients as in case of Shri Deole require intensive care and advanced management. Early hospitalisation helps in improving the chances of a full recovery. Dr. Annu Aggarwal, Consultant Neurologist, Centre for Neurosciences, KDAH added, “It is crucial to suspect COVID-19 in all patients who develop neurological symptoms like stroke or seizure. Early diagnosis of COVID-19 is crucial so that patients can be given timely and effective treatment. with chemical and mechanical clot busters.”
For Shri Mahadeo Deole, a cancer survivor and suffering from hypertension, his recovery has been nothing short of a ‘rebirth.’ What began as sleepiness and confusion with lethargy progressed to a complicated case of COVID-19 affecting multiple organs such as the lungs, brain and heart. It was only a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment with management of COVID-19 and supportive care, including treatment of stroke, heart problems, and aggressive neuro-rehabilitation that led to Shri Deole’s successful recovery.