60 days on ventilator leaves techie with excess bones in hips, elbow  

Undergoes surgery; infection during 2nd wave led to severe complications, drained resources

Published: 06th May 2022 07:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th May 2022 09:01 PM   |  A+A-

MBBS exam

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Express News Service

BENGALURU: A private hospital in Bengaluru successfully operated on a 32-year-old techie with rare excess bone formation in his hips and right elbow, related to Covid-19 infection during the second wave.

Balaji, who was on medical ventilation due to Covid complications for nearly 60 days, was immobile, particularly in his upper and lower limbs. He developed Heterotopic Ossification (formation of bone with soft tissue) which is a condition normally seen in traumatic brain injury, stroke or spinal cord injury. To add to this, excess bones started forming in his hips and right elbow.

According to studies, long periods of fever, immobilisation and other factors can trigger HO. “If someone is on a ventilator and there is no movement at all in any of the joints, such complications can develop,” says Dr Gopal Krishna B A, Consultant Orthopaedic, joint replacement surgeon, Manipal Hospitals, Jayanagar, who operated on the patient.

Balaji told The New Indian Express that he had developed severe breathing issues during the second wave and was unable to find an ICU bed in Bengaluru. He then went to Ananthpur in Andhra Pradesh and got admitted to a hospital where doctors asked him to move to a bigger hospital, as his pulse rate was slipping. By the time he was shifted to another hospital, he fell unconscious. He was on ventilator for 60 days.

After Balaji regained consciousness, he was diagnosed with HO. He also found himself in a severe financial crisis, as Covid treatment had drained his resources, and he had also lost his job. He met Dr Gopal Krishna who advised him to undergo surgery. However, surgery could be done only after six months due to his financial position. His incomplete recovery from lung infection due to Covid added to the wait. 

Dr Gopal Krishna recently performed three sets of surgeries, lasting eight hours, to remove excess bone tissue from three joints. Balaji was put on radiotherapy so that the bones did not form again. 

“Balaji has undergone multiple surgeries and is on medication too. His life seemed to be at severe risk, but we are glad he’s been restored to good health. None of the cases reported till date across the country were as debilitating as Balaji’s,” says Dr Krishna.

Post surgery, Balaji was put on regular sessions of radiotherapy, medication and rehabilitation which helped him sit, walk and do things by himself. Doctors caution that he may have to face the same complications in future. “This problem can recur. He should keep an eye out for such an eventuality, though I have taken all necessary precautions to reduce chances of recurrence,” added Dr Gopal Krishna. Balaji expressed his gratitude to doctors at Manipal Hospitals.


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