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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (6): 575-580.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.09.001

• Case Report • Previous Articles    

Integrated therapeutic plasma exchange and traditional Chinese medicine treatment in a patient with severe COVID-19: A case report

Chia-Wei Lina, Wei-Chen Hsua, Chien-Lu Lub, Su-Hsing Chengc,d, Cheng-Pin Chenc, Yu-Chang Houa,e,f,g   

  1. a. Department of Chinese Medicine, Taoyuan General Hospital, Taoyuan City 330, Taiwan, China
    b. Department of Nephrology, Taoyuan General Hospital, Taoyuan City 330, Taiwan, China
    c. Department of Infectious Disease, Taoyuan General Hospital, Taoyuan City 330, Taiwan, China
    d. School of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taipei City 110, Taiwan, China
    e. Department of Bioscience Technology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan City 320, Taiwan, China
    f. School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung City 404, Taiwan, China
    g. School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan City 333, Taiwan, China
  • Received:2021-09-09 Accepted:2022-02-06 Online:2022-11-15 Published:2022-11-22
  • Contact: Yu-Chang Hou

This report presents the case of a 59-year-old man with severe COVID-19 that gradually progressed to cytokine release syndrome and then acute respiratory distress syndrome; he was successfully treated via integration of therapeutic plasma exchange and traditional Chinese medicine. The patient initially presented with a sore throat, severe muscle aches, productive cough and fever. On the worsening of symptoms, remdesivir was administered. However, as the symptoms continued to worsen and a cytokine release syndrome was suspected, oxygen was provided through a high-flow nasal cannula (50 L/min) and therapeutic plasma exchange was performed to prevent worsening of the acute respiratory distress syndrome. On the same day, a course of traditional Chinese medicine was introduced in consultation with the infectious house staff. The patient’s symptoms gradually improved; the levels of C-reactive protein and D-dimers reduced, and the patient was weaned to a simple oxygen mask and eventually to room air. This is the first reported case of the integration of these treatments. Together, they prevented the patient from requiring intubation, played a role in cytokine management, and also improved the clinical symptoms, including productive purulent sputum, cough, frequent stool passage and intermittent fever, with no adverse effects. As a result, the patient was discharged within two weeks of the integration of these treatments. Therefore, the integration of therapeutic plasma exchange and traditional Chinese medicine is an effective therapy for patients with severe COVID-19.

Key words: COVID-19, Therapeutic plasma exchange, Traditional Chinese medicine

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