Management considerations for stroke-like episodes in MELAS with concurrent COVID-19 infection.

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There have been considerations since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic that COVID-19 infection, like any other viral illness, can trigger neurological and metabolic decompensation in patients with mitochondrial diseases. At the time of writing, there were no published reports reviewing experiences and guidelines about management of COVID-19 infection in this patient population. We present a challenging case of an adult patient with a known diagnosis of Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy, Lactic Acidosis and Stroke-like Episodes (MELAS) complicated by COVID-19 infection. She initially presented with altered mental status and vomiting and went on to develop a stroke-like episode, pancreatitis, and pneumatosis intestinalis. We review salient features of her hospitalization, including initiation of thromboprophylaxis in relation to intravenous arginine therapy, caution regarding medications such as remdesivir, and the incidence of gastrointestinal complications.

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Authors: Kuntal Sen, Dana Harrar, Andrea Hahn, Elizabeth M Wells, Andrea L Gropman