Rare Autoimmune Disease Caused by Not-So-Rare Virus

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine


Antisynthetase Syndrome (ASSD) is a rare autoimmune disease with a prevalence of approximately 1.5 cases per 100,000 that can encompass various symptoms including interstitial lung disease, myositis, arthropathy, fever, Raynaud's phenomenon, and mechanic’s hands. ASSD is associated with the development of antibodies against anti-Jo-1 antibody, a type of amino acyl-transfer ribonucleic acid (t-RNA). We present a rare case of a 33-year-old Hispanic female with a past medical history of COVID-19, six weeks prior, who was admitted to the hospital with acute hypoxic respiratory failure, worsening myositis, and a bilateral mechanic’s hand rash. Laboratory testing revealed an elevated creatinine phosphokinase and positive anti-Jo antibody, and high-resolution CT chest findings showed bilateral ground-glass opacities. The patient underwent a muscle biopsy that demonstrated skeletal muscle degenerative fibers arranged in a largely perivascular pattern, consistent with antisynthetase syndrome. The patient was treated with prolonged corticosteroids and mycophenolate mofetil with rapid improvement in respiratory status and resolution of her myalgias. This case highlights the importance of maintaining a broad differential when evaluating patients for acute hypoxic respiratory failure following a COVID-19 infection. The potential sequela of a COVID-19 infection, if caught early, can lead to a significant decrease in mortality and prevent complications associated with interstitial lung disease and preserve quality of life for the patient





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American Thoracic Society International Conference, May 19-24, 2023, Washington, DC.