Man Dies After Suffering 3-Hour Erection From A Rare Covid-19 Complication!

A 69-year-old Covid-19 patient suffered a prolonged erection that lasted more than 3 hours due to a rare complication caused by the coronavirus.

According to a case report that was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine earlier this year, the unidentified patient from the US state of Ohio was diagnosed with the condition, known as priapism, while in hospital for coronavirus in August last year.

The case report says the man went to the emergency department at Miami Valley Hospital, after the respiratory symptoms he had been experiencing for a week, like a cough and congestion, worsened. Doctors tested him for COVID-19, and the test came back positive.

While in the hospital, the man’s respiratory status continued to decline, and he was intubated and placed on a mechanical ventilator for 10 days. When his lungs began to fail, he was then put in a prone position so that he was lying on his stomach for 12 hours, to help get air around his body.

The next day, when adjusting the Covid-19 patient’s positioning, a nurse noticed that the man had an erection. The care team put ice packs on the area to reduce the swelling, but the erection still wouldn’t go down, lasting more than three hours.
Man Dies After Suffering 3-Hour Erection From A Rare Covid-19 Complication!
Man Dies After Suffering 3-Hour Erection From A Rare Covid-19 Complication!
His doctors determined that the prolonged erection was due to ischemic priapism and resorted to draining blood from his penis using a needle. With the help of medication injected into the base of his penis, his erection subsided after 30 minutes of treatment.

The treatment was successful and the priapism did not happen again. Unfortunately, the patient died from other COVID-19 complications when his lungs failed to recover.

The condition is extremely rare in Covid-19 cases, and this patient is only the second known to have had priapism after being diagnosed with Covid-19. The other was a 62-year-old man in June 2020.

According to the Mayo Clinic, ischemic priapism (also called low-flow priapism) happens when blood isn’t able to leave the penis. In this case, the man’s priapism was believed to be due to an obstruction of draining venules, which are very small blood vessels. People with ischemic priapism usually have an erection that lasts more than four hours or that is unrelated to sexual interest or stimulation.

The condition is known to be excruciating and can cause lasting damage if left untreated.

Another symptom of ischemic priapism is progressive pain in the penis. Usually, clinicians can ask patients about their pain level to determine whether they have ischemic priapism or another type of priapism, known as nonischemic or high-flow priapism. This occurs when blood flow in the penis isn’t regulated appropriately, according to the Mayo Clinic. It usually hurts less than ischemic priapism.

If left untreated, priapism can damage the reproductive organs and cause erectile dysfunction. The Mayo Clinic notes,

“The blood trapped in the penis is deprived of oxygen. When an erection lasts for too long, this oxygen-poor blood can begin to damage or destroy tissues in the penis. As a result, untreated priapism can cause erectile dysfunction.”
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