Doctors report increase in cases of avascular necrosis post-Covid

The increased use of steroids during Covid a main cause, say doctors

avascular necrosis
Incidences of avascular necrosis of the femoral head (hip) have increased in the last two years

Incidences of avascular necrosis, or death of the bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply, have notably risen in the last year, suggests patient data from Artemis Hospital, Gurugram.

The use of steroids increased during the Covid-19 pandemic period to reduce the severity of the infection and was an important life-saving measure. However, it also resulted in increased cases of hip pain and disability. The hospital has witnessed a 20% increase in AVN cases, and the requirement for surgery increased by roughly 20% in the last year. 

Dr Ramkinkar Jha, chief and unit head – of Orthopaedics, at Artemis Hospital Gurugram, said, “Incidences of avascular necrosis of the femoral head (hip) have increased in the last two years.  Steroids are one of the known factors causing avascular necrosis of the femoral head (hip joint). The excessive and injudicious use of steroids may be a factor behind this trend. We are witnessing higher incidences of AVN in the younger population, which is a major deviation from earlier.

“The younger age group, the male population, and persons with other comorbidities such as diabetes and respiratory issues are specifically more affected. We have seen patients from rural and remote places having unexplained pain around the hip joint. When investigated, they were found to be suffering from this disease,” Jha said.

Avascular necrosis of the femoral head or simply AVN hip joint is one of the important etiology of arthritis of the hip. Avascular necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply and it most commonly affects the femur (thigh bone) and damages one of the most important weight-bearing joints in the body.


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