DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan Study Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome

Jun 1, 2021

DETROIT — Children who develop Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) are at high risk for developing decreased heart function that can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the body, according to a study by doctors at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The study, Echocardiographic Indicators Associated with Adverse Clinical Course and Cardiac Sequelae in Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children with COVID-19, is published online in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.

The observational study looked at 54 pediatric patients who were admitted last year to DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan MIS-C associated with COVID-19 infection. In this often life threatening condition, multiple systems and organs of the body including heart and blood vessels develop inflammation that can lead to organ failure and possible organ damage.

Using ultrasound imaging (echocardiography) and electrocardiogram (ECG), doctors examined heart and blood vessels to determine how MIS-C impacted the function and structure of heart and blood vessels.

The study showed that the function of the heart and blood-vessels were affected in the majority of the children with MIS-C. Some of the children had significant acute damage, requiring a breathing machine and heart medication support, with some needing life support by an ECMO machine to survive. The ECMO machine is similar to the heart-lung by-pass machine used in open-heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient's blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.

“We found that heart function evaluation with ultrasound and ECG at the time these patients arrive at the hospital may provide clues about the clinical course the child is likely to have as a result of this condition,” according to Gautam Singh, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the lead author of the study. “These findings may lead to early intervention with anti-inflammatory and intensive treatment and care to shorten the course of MIS-C and lead to betters outcomes for children with this condition.”

Dr. Singh says that while the heart function of the patients in the study returned to normal by 5 months on follow-up, the study results point to the need for children who had MIS-C to receive followed ultrasound examination and other cardiac screenings to determine their long-term heart health.

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