Study: Children at risk of heart dysfunction, developing inflammatory syndrome post-COVID-19 infection

20% of children in the study still showed signs of abnormal heart function

Study: children at risk of heart dysfunction, developing inflammatory syndrome post-COVID-19 infection
Study: children at risk of heart dysfunction, developing inflammatory syndrome post-COVID-19 infection

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has been a mysterious and frightening consequence of COVID-19.

A new study is shedding light on the potential longer term impacts of the syndrome.

Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Michigan found that children who develop MIS-C after a COVID infection are at high risk for suffering a decrease in heart function. It could make it difficult for the heart to pump sufficient blood to the body.

Although rare, MIS-C can be serious.

“After they get exposure or get COVID-19, then about three to six weeks later the immune system mounts this very acute, hyperacute reaction and that leads to inflammation of multiple organs in the body including heart,” said Dr. Gautam Singh.

Singh leads the study that followed 54 children with MIS-C who were admitted to Children’s Hospital last year.

Researchers found that the function of the heart and blood vessels were affected in the majority of the kids, with some needing a life support machine called “Ecmo” to survive.

About 20% of the children who appeared to fully recover still showed signs of abnormal heart function on ultrasounds.

“Further followup, we found that all these 20% of children -- approximately 20% -- they actually fully recovered by the end of six months, so that was very heartening,” Singh said.

While most children don’t suffer serious complications from COVID, these findings emphasize the need for adults to continue protecting those too young to be vaccinated.

“We don’t know who is vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated, so that’s a concern. That’s why it is important to have more and more people get vaccinated to protect not only themselves but their children, others, friends and family, neighbors and everybody they come in contact with,” Singh said.


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