Most children who develop multisystemic inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) after infection with SARS-CoV-2 recover relatively quickly and without significant sequelae, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Pediatrics.
“The results of this research letter offer some reassurance as has been the case with other longitudinal reports, that children with MIS-C largely recover from the illness with minimal sequelae,” said Kanwal M. Farooqi, MD, a pediatric cardiologist from Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York.
“This is despite the severity of the initial clinical presentation, which can be quite significant with signs of systemic inflammation, hypotension, and need for ICU-level care,” continued Dr. Farooqi, who was not involved in the study.
Given that little is known about the medium- and long-term effects of MIS-C following infection with COVID-19, Patrick Davies, MRCPCH, Nottingham (England) University Hospitals NHS Trust, and colleagues reviewed data from one of the earliest multicenter national cohorts of children in the United Kingdom. The cohort included children admitted to the hospital prior to May 10, 2020, and the analysis was based on data from 68 of 76 (89%) patients of the initial surviving cohort. Information regarding critical care readmissions and outpatient follow-up visits up to April 1, 2021 (1-year post admission), was included in the analysis.
Overall laboratory results appeared normal for most children at 50 days post admission, including neutrophils, platelets, ferritin, creatinine, and alanine transaminase. Just 3% (2/65 test results) of children showed elevated levels of C-reactive protein, 3% (2/59 test results) for D-dimer, and 2% (1/60 test results) for troponin.
Based on echocardiographic data, 14 of the 19 patients who presented with aneurysms had resolution. Nine of 10 patients who presented with “bright” coronary arteries had resolution and only one progressed to having unresolved coronary artery aneurysms with the latest follow-up at 86 days post admission. All of the 38 patients who presented with impaired function without aneurysm had recovered by day 74.
Of the six patients with ongoing echocardiographic abnormalities, all had aneurysmal changes noted on echocardiograms performed between 86 and 336 days post admission. The authors were surprised to find that troponin levels in this group were lower when compared with others in the cohort (0.06 ng/mL [interquartile range, 0.02-0.418 ng/mL] vs. 0.157 ng/mL [0.033-0.81 ng/mL]; P = .02).
These six patients ranged in age from 0 to 13 years (median age, 8.75 years); five were Afro Caribbean boys and one was a White girl.
The researchers acknowledged that, despite coming from a nationwide data set, the interpretation of this data is limited given the small size of the cohort and the lack of standardized follow-up protocol available at the time.
When asked how this data might inform follow-up guidance for children post COVID infection, Dr. Farooqi said, “although it appears from the data that we have seen in the last few months that the patients recover relatively quickly from MIS-C, I believe it is reasonable to evaluate them at 6-month intervals for the second year until we have more information regarding longer-term outcomes.”
The study authors and Dr. Farooqi disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.