Covid causes rare syndrome that makes woman stop breathing when sleeping in the interior of Alagoas

A Covid-19 patient in the interior of Alagoas developed a rare disorder known as undine syndrome. Dijane Silva, 34 years old, resident of Taquarana, stops breathing while sleeping, a neurological problem that made her remain hospitalized for a year and a half, passing through three hospitals.

Dijane Silva was discharged on the 30th, but the return home was a little different. She uses a respirator to sleep and is monitored by a health team at home, which was assured in court through the State Public Defender’s Office (DPE).

“According to the decision, the State is responsible for transferring the patient to permanent home treatment within 15 days, and must ensure the cost of any medical treatment related to the treatment of the disease, understood as necessary for the maintenance of the quality of life of the assisted person. and duly prescribed by doctors, under penalty of a punitive fine, in case of delay or non-compliance.

Dijane’s medical condition is post-Covid-19 Central Hypoventilation, ondine syndrome, and “congenital pes cavus scoliosis.” According to the Defender’s Office, she would not be receiving the treatment indicated for her case, which would be urgent home care, with uninterrupted follow-up by a multidisciplinary team, for an indefinite period. The medical report also pointed out that maintaining the current form of hospitalization could lead to complications and the patient’s death.

With the initial condition of Covid-19, the citizen was admitted to the Chama de Arapiraca Hospital, in May of last year, and later transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital, in Maceió, where she had remained until then.

Dijane walking with the support of a walker, still at Chama hospital. Photo: Personal archive

Diagnosis – Accompanied by doctors in the ICU (intensive care unit) at the HU, she says that a diagnosis of the problem that affected her was noticed. It was the neurologist and researcher Fernando Gameleira who came to the conclusion that Dijane’s respiratory disorder would be ondine syndrome. “Our brain has a part that detects when carbon dioxide accumulates and automatically triggers the respiratory movement. In the case of the syndrome, it has an alteration in these sensors that recognize this increase in carbon dioxide. And then it stops breathing and dies if not use a respirator”, he says.

The syndrome can also cause cognitive, nerve and gut changes. According to him, the disease developed post-covid is something unprecedented – and that’s why the patient’s case is of interest for research. Usually, the person is born with this syndrome. In some rare cases it can be acquired after, for example, encephalitis, a brain tumor, a stroke. [acidente vascular cerebral]. The impression I have is that she developed chronic encephalitis from covid. Her prognosis is still uncertain: she may need the respirator her entire life, but we don’t know why there may be some degree of reversal.Fernando Gameleira, neurologist

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