Osteonecrosis risk after steroids-related treatment of COVID-19 is not negligible: A cross sectional study.

Publication date: Jan 27, 2024

During the pandemic, steroids use at various dosages and durations for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, especially in hospitalized patients, was a common and effective strategy. However, steroid administration is associated with osteonecrosis as an adverse event. The aim of the study was to examine the prevalence of skeleton osteonecrosis in COVID-19 patients treated with or without steroids. Eighty randomly selected hospitalized COVID-19 patients were analyzed, of which 40 were managed with a published protocol including steroids and 40 did not receive steroids. Demographics and laboratory measurements including white blood cells count, C-reactive protein and ferritin were retrieved from the medical records. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the hips, shoulders, and knees. Subsequently, all patients were clinically examined and Oxford hip score (OHS) and EuroQol- 5 Dimension (EQ-5D-5 L) were documented. Three patients (3/40; 7. 5 %) treated with steroids were diagnosed with femoral head osteonecrosis. None of the patients in the non-steroid-treated group developed osteonecrosis. There were no differences between the two groups regarding OHS and EQ-5D-5 L. Patients with osteonecrosis had higher ferritin levels, received higher doses of corticosteroids (median dose 2200 mg), and had longer hospitalization. COVID-19-related therapy with steroids resulted in lower prevalence of osteonecrosis than that previously recorded in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by coronavirus-type-1. However, this risk seems not negligible and therefore, high clinical suspicion for early diagnosis is warranted, given the fact that a great proportion of hospitalized patients received steroids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concepts Keywords
2200mg Corticosteroids
Coronavirus COVID-19
Femoral Cross-Sectional studies
Hospitalization Femur head necrosis
Oxford Ferritin


Type Source Name
disease MESH Osteonecrosis
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO effective
disease VO adverse event
disease VO protocol
disease IDO blood
disease VO dose
disease MESH severe acute respiratory syndrome
disease MESH Femur head necrosis

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