A Case of Severe COVID-19 Pneumonia Diagnosed in Bronchoscopy With Negative Repeated Nasopharyngeal Swabs

Yousef Shukha, Kamal Makhoul, Jawad Abu-Elhija, Tony Hayek, Shadi Hamoud


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a worldwide pandemic that had emerged in China since December 2019. The disease affects all age groups, with clinical manifestations in the spectrum from asymptomatic to rapidly lethal multi-organ failure, mainly involving the respiratory system. Diagnosis is confirmed mainly by a positive real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasopharyngeal swab. It is highly recommended to avoid performing invasive procedures in COVID-19 subjects to prevent the potential for dissemination of the pathogen. Treatment consists in particular of respiratory support and symptom relief. Dexamethasone is widely used with encouraging response. There were no cases in the literature that were diagnosed with positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing only from fluid of involved organs, while repeated nasopharyngeal swabs returned negative for COVID-19. We here describe a case of COVID-19 that presented with moderate-severe pulmonary involvement, diagnosed by RT-PCR testing from broncho-alveolar lavage, while several nasopharyngeal swabs were consistently negative. The patient experienced no improvement under wide-spectrum antibiotics administered initially, and greatly improved after receiving systemic corticosteroids. One can realize from our case that COVID-19 could not be ruled out upon repeated negative RT-PCR nasopharyngeal swabs, and in subjects with highly suspected COVID-19, it is justified to perform invasive procedures, but still using maximal protective measures.

J Med Cases. 2021;12(6):217-219
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3679


COVID-19; Nasopharyngeal swab; RT-PCR; bronchoscopy

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