Have you heard about the cytokine storm in Covid-19? Maybe there are still many who do not understand this condition. Symptoms of Covid-19 can vary from person to person. Some have no symptoms at all, some have severe symptoms, to the point of experiencing ARDS or acute respiratory distress syndrome as the cause of death.
ARDS is a severe respiratory disorder caused by a buildup of fluid in the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs). Well, this cytokine storm has a direct role in the severity of Covid-19. To better understand the cytokine storm in Covid-19, read the following explanation, OK!
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What is a Cytokine Storm?
A cytokine storm is a severe or severe immune reaction, in which the body releases too many cytokines into the blood very quickly. What are cytokines? Cytokines are proteins that are produced by various types of cells in the body.
Cytokines actually play an important role in the body’s normal immune response when an infection occurs. But when the production of cytokines released in the body is very large, it will turn out to be dangerous. This overproduction of cytokines causes more immune cells to enter the area where inflammation or injury occurs. This can cause organ damage.
Signs and symptoms of a cytokine storm can include a high fever and inflammation in all organs. Occasionally, cytokine storms can be severe or life-threatening and cause multiple organ failure. Also called hypercytokinemia.
In Covid-19 patients, one of the conditions associated with a cytokine storm is ARDS. ARDS is one of the leading causes of death in Covid-19 patients.
What is ARDS?
ARDS is caused by inflammation or very severe inflammation of the membranes of the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs). This causes a buildup of fluid there. Over time this can cause respiratory problems and even respiratory failure.
ARDS does not only occur in Covid-19 patients, ARDS is also a complication of pneumonia, sepsis, pancreatitis, and blood transfusions. ARDS is usually diagnosed when fluid buildup occurs and the patient has severe hypoxemia (low oxygen levels in the blood).
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Cytokine Storm in Covid-19
Recent research has shown that Covid-19 patients have high levels of cytokines. The link between cytokines and Covid-19 was discovered by scientists in patients admitted to the ICU. Patients who have mild symptoms and do not require ICU care because they do not experience the phenomenon of cytokine storm.
As with other viral infections, particularly SARS, MERS, and influenza, a cytokine storm is used as a warning that a patient’s condition is severe. If left untreated, a cytokine storm in Covid-19 patients can cause ARDS, even tissue damage, organ failure, and even death.
Treating Cytokine Storms in Covid-19
Recent research has found that the critical period is 5-7 days between the time of initial diagnosis of COVID-19 and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). About 80% of patients tend to improve after that period of time, but another 20% develop severe pneumonia, and 2% die from Covid-19.
There are many anti-inflammatory medications being researched to see if they can treat the cytokine storm in Covid-19. To reduce the risk of an emergency, experts recommend immunotherapy (immunotherapy) once the patient is diagnosed with a cytokine storm.
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Medical News. What is a Cytokine Storm?. March 2021.
Coperchini, F., Chiovato, L., Croce, L., Magri, F., & Rotondi, M. The cytokine storm in COVID-19: An overview of the involvement of the chemokine/chemokine receptor system. Cytokines & Growth Factor Reviews. 2020.