MONDAY, April 11, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Older children and teens are most vulnerable to severe cases of a rare inflammatory disorder that can occur in young people who have had COVID-19, according to a new study.
It included 232 children aged 18 and under who were admitted to 15 hospitals in Canada, Costa Rica and Iran with suspected multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) between March 1, 2020 and March 7, 2021.
The World Health Organization definition for MIS-C includes: a fever that lasts at least three days; elevated C-reactive protein, which indicates inflammation; illness involving two or more systems with no obvious microbial cause of inflammation, and a positive COVID test or suspected contact with a positive case.
Most patients in the study (89%) had gastrointestinal symptoms such as pain and skin problems such as rash and swelling (85%). Cardiac involvement was common (59%), as were coagulation abnormalities (90%).
Of the 232 children, 73 (31.5%) were admitted to intensive care and 64% required treatment for very low blood pressure. The risk of ICU admission was higher in children aged 6-12 years (44%) and 13-17 years (46%) than in children 5 years and younger (18%).
Children admitted to hospital later in the pandemic (between November 2020 and March 2021) were more likely to be admitted to intensive care (50 of 112 or 45%) than those hospitalized earlier (23 of 120, 19% ).
The researchers also found that patients with elevated blood markers for inflammation had a higher risk of severe MIS-C.
The study was published April 11 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Diagnosing MIS-C can be difficult, the researchers noted.
“Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a new diagnosis, with different diagnostic criteria that have not been validated,” wrote Dr Joan Robinson, a pediatrician at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. and the co-authors.
“Most of these children had no history of contact with someone infected with SARS-CoV-2. Identifying exposure can be difficult because infected contacts may be asymptomatic or have never been tested,” they said in a press release.
An international consensus on MIS-C diagnostic criteria is needed to improve clinical care and research, the study authors stressed.
There’s more on MIS-C at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
THE SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association JournalIpress release, April 11, 2022
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