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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


High-Dose Prednisone for Treatment of Autoimmune Pancreatitis in a Patient with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to Infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Unusual clinical course, Unusual setting of medical care

Hammad Liaquat, Brittney Shupp, Sarina Kapoor, Ayaz Matin

USA Department of Gastroenterology, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA, USA

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e926475

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.926475

Available online: 2020-06-30

Published: 2020-07-21


BACKGROUND: Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a rare, steroid-responsive disease of the pancreas. Concurrent treatment with immunosuppressants, including corticosteroids, increases the risk of developing a severe form of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The World Health Organization (WHO) advises against the use of corticosteroids in patients with SARS-CoV-2 due to their poor outcomes in patients with SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), unless these patients require steroid treatment for a coexisting disease.
CASE REPORT: A 53-year old patient was admitted with symptoms and diagnostic findings consistent with AIP. Thorough etiological workup revealed an elevated IgG4 level of 361 mg/dL and significant clinical response to corticosteroid treatment, leading to a diagnosis of AIP. After finishing steroid treatment at home, the patient was readmitted with another episode of AIP complicated by development of acute necrotic collection and COVID-19 while taking a second course of high dose prednisone. The patient was continued on high dose prednisone, started on azathioprine and intravenous meropenem, and underwent CT guided percutaneous drainage. He also received supportive care for COVID-19. After significant clinical improvement, the patient was discharged to quarantine at home, which he completed uneventfully.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the use of corticosteroids due to AIP, this high risk patient recovered from COVID-19 without complications. These findings support the use of corticosteroids when necessary for treatment of coexisting conditions in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: Autoimmune Diseases, Glucocorticoids, Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing