A recent study conducted at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) reveals that many children treated for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) exhibit subclinical cardiac effects. MIS-C is a serious condition that can develop in children and adolescents following COVID-19 infection, causing inflammation, particularly affecting the cardiovascular system. The study analyzed follow-up cardiac studies on 69 patients who had been hospitalized at CHLA for MIS-C.
Cardiac health was assessed using various measures, including cardiac MRI, ambulatory heart rhythm monitoring, and cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing. The findings showed that abnormal MRI measurements of the heart muscle’s health were the most common. This may indicate inflammation or potential permanent damage, such as scarring. Additionally, 9% of the patients had documented arrhythmias, suggesting a risk for abnormal heart rhythms later in life. The exercise stress testing also revealed lower than expected exercise capacity, which could be attributed to the sedentary lifestyle adopted during the pandemic.
Dr. Jackie Szmuszkovicz, a pediatric cardiologist at CHLA and co-senior author of the study, emphasized the importance of cardiac follow-up evaluations for all patients who had MIS-C. The extent and permanence of the observed cardiac abnormalities are still unknown, but early detection can help mitigate any potential long-term risks, including early heart disease.
The study’s findings shed light on the lingering effects of MIS-C, even in children who had a seemingly complete recovery. It underscores the importance of understanding the long-term consequences of COVID-19 and the need for comprehensive care for children affected by MIS-C.
Q: What is MIS-C?
A: MIS-C stands for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. It is a condition that can develop in children and adolescents following COVID-19 infection, leading to inflammation and affecting multiple organ systems, particularly the cardiovascular system.
Q: What were the main findings of the study?
A: The study found that many children treated for MIS-C had subclinical cardiac effects. Abnormalities were observed in cardiac MRI measurements, and a percentage of patients had documented arrhythmias. Lower exercise capacity was also noted, potentially influenced by the sedentary lifestyle during the pandemic.
Q: What are the implications of these findings?
A: The study highlights the importance of cardiac follow-up evaluations for all patients who had MIS-C. Early detection of any cardiac abnormalities can help mitigate long-term risks, such as early heart disease. It emphasizes the need for comprehensive care and monitoring of children affected by MIS-C.