A coronavirus patient in France suffered a four-hour erection due to blood clots that may have been triggered by the illness, doctors have warned.
The 62-year-old man experienced the painful condition known as priapism while in the intensive care unit at the Centre Hospitaliser de Versailles in Le Chesnay, according to a case report in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Doctors initially applied an ice pack to the area, but after four hours his erection still had not disappeared.
Using a needle, they instead decided to drain the blood from his penis and discovered that it was full of blood clots, the report said.
The man had been in the hospital for two weeks with a fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing. His condition quickly deteriorated, and he was placed on a ventilator.
Doctors said blood clots are common among coronavirus patients, but his case was the first known of priapism, which is caused by blood trapped in the penis. The clinical and laboratory presentation in our patient strongly suggests priapism related to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The case study comes shortly after medical experts revealed that up to 30% of coronavirus patients develop dangerous blood clots.
These clots, known as thrombosis, can form in different areas around the body, including in the lungs.
But more research is needed into the link between the strange case of blood clotting and the virus, doctors said. Although the arguments supporting a causal link between COVID-19 and priapism are very strong in our case, reports of further cases would strengthen the evidence.