Explained: What is bone death, new post-Covid complication found in patients treated with steroids

As India continues to fight the aftermath of the second wave of the deadly coronavirus, doctors have established a linkage between Covid-19 patients and Avascular Necrosis (AVN) being referred to as bone death.

AVN is a difficult condition affecting the hip joint and thigh bones of Covid-19 patients, adding to the long list of post-Covid complications among recovered patients.

Dr Sanjay Agarwala, head of orthopedics and traumatology, along with Dr Mayank Vijayvargiya at PD Hinduja Hospital and MRC Mumbai have written a medical paper on their discoveries, which has been accepted for publication by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). India Today TV addressed the two doctors about the medical conditions, which is a side effect of coronavirus.


The complication became known when Dr Manish Khobragade, a recovered Covid-19 patient suddenly developed agony in the left hip joint. He initially thought that it was a basic joint torment, but since it didn’t subside even after seven days he contacted an orthopedic surgeon and was advised a X-Ray test. The X-Ray didn’t detect any glaring issues and was henceforth prescribed regular medications, pain relievers and muscle relaxers. But even after a month and half the doctors felt no relief.

Khobragade said that it was at that point that he realized that the torment was different from the routine problem, and there was something wrong with the hip joint. He then got the MRI done post which he was diagnosed with bone death. Nonetheless, by that time he couldn’t stand for long hours. In any event, strolling became a difficult task. He couldn’t squat by any stretch of the imagination.

It was at this point that he met Dr Agarwala and sought consultation on the AVN issue. Almost six months after the treatment began, the doctor is now able to walk, climb stairs, squat and continue with his everyday activities. But, the treatment will continue for another two to three years.


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