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Tapia’s syndrome in a patient with COVID-19
  1. Tharuka Herath,
  2. Nadiene Lutchman,
  3. Leena Naidu,
  4. Sunil Wimalaratna
  1. Neurology, Kettering General Hospital, Kettering, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tharuka Herath, Kettering General Hospital, Kettering, UK; tharukaherath11{at}


A 42-year-old man developed bilateral Tapia’s syndrome (recurrent laryngeal and hypoglossal nerves paralysis) following prolonged ventilation for COVID-19 pneumonia. Examination showed global tongue atrophy and bilateral asymmetric vocal cord palsy. He improved rapidly without specific treatment, suggesting that neuropraxia was the likely mechanism of injury. Tapia’s syndrome has been reported disproportionately more often in association with COVID-19, possibly from injury to hypoglossal and vagal nerves during ventilation in the prone position.

  • COVID-19
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neuropathy

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. An author name was spelled incorrectly.

  • Contributors TH, NL, LN and SW collected data, drafted the manuscript, involved in caring of the patient, corrected the manuscript. All authors approved the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Robin Howard, London, UK and Tom Hughes, Cardiff, UK.

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