Post-transplant patients with COVID-19 associated acute respiratory distress syndrome, a role for Tociluzumab: A case series.Respir Med Case Rep. 2021; 32:101319.RM
COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 that portends both a relatively high mortality rate as well as high rate of intensive care admission amongst all age groups; however effective therapy remains poorly characterized. Post-transplant patients are especially high risk and underrepresented in the literature. In these patients, cytokine release may play a significant role in the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, raising the hypothesis that interleukin-6 inhibitors such as tocilizumab may be of benefit. Here, we describe two high-risk post-transplant patients who were treated with single-dose tocilizumab after intubation for moderate acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to confirmed COVID-19 infection. Both patients recovered rapidly and were successfully extubated and discharged from the hospital without need for supplemental oxygen shortly thereafter, and their clinical improvement correlated with response in interleukin-6 levels. Tocilizumab appears to hold promise for critically ill COVID-19 patients who require mechanical ventilation when given shortly after intubation.