Children with COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome can fully recover heart function

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In a new study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researchers found children who develop COVID-19-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome, also called MIS-C, begin recovering in the first week of hospital discharge and fully recover normal heart function within three months.

The findings suggest children diagnosed with MIS-C can gradually resume playing competitive sports within three months.

MIS-C can appear in children four to six weeks after they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. It can cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal organs.

About 80%-85% of MIS-C cases have involved the heart’s left ventricle.

The syndrome shares some characteristics with Kawasaki disease, a leading cause of acquired heart disease among young children in the U.S., with an average age of onset of 2.

MIS-C, however, is associated with more profound inflammation.

In the study, researchers detail heart damage and recovery during three to four months of follow-up in 60 children with MIS-C admitted to two Philadelphia hospitals between April 2020 and January 2021.

None of the children, who were on average 10 years old, had been diagnosed with COVID-19 before the onset of MIS-C symptoms.

Their results were compared with those of 60 children, on average 11.5 years old, who had no known exposure to COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus and whose hearts were structurally normal.

Among those exposed to COVID-19, about 81% lost some ability for the left ventricle to contract during the acute phase of the illness. But that function returned to normal within three to four months.

When first admitted to the hospital, 7% of children showed some signs of heart malfunction. But there were no lasting coronary artery abnormalities and within three months, all scans were normal.

This study provides additional evidence that myocardial involvement is transient and may not lead to long-term abnormalities in heart function.

The team says although cardiac involvement in the acute stage of illness is common, it is reassuring that all patients recovered normal cardiac function within about one week.

If you care about Covid, please read studies about health problem linked to lower COVID-19 infection risk, and your maximum risks of COVID infection with and without masks.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about Omicron that may be less likely to cause severe disease, and results showing this drug could help treat lung damage in COVID-19.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One author of the study is Dr. Anirban Banerjee.

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