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COVID-19 Heart Complications Rare in Children

Other heart conditions – which can also be associated with MIS-C but are sometimes the result of acute COVID-19 infection – include myocarditis and pericarditis.

Myocarditis made headlines for appearing to be a rare complication of COVID-19 vaccinations. However, experts have noted the risk of developing myocarditis from an infection of COVID-19 is much higher than that of developing it from vaccination.

With myocarditis, “patients may present with mild symptoms of chest pain or can present with severe decompensated heart failure,” Dr. Elizabeth Profita, a pediatric cardiologist at Stanford Children’s Health in California, told Healthline.

However, “treatment of myocarditis is generally supportive care, and vaccination will prevent more hospitalizations and ICU admissions than it may cause myocarditis cases, even in adolescent males,” she added.

Other potential heart complications include cardiogenic shock, when a virus-weakened heart can’t pump sufficient blood, and heart arrhythmias, where heartbeats become irregular. Both are also rare.

“Long-term outcome data after SARS-CoV-2 infection are not yet available, but midterm data in children and youth are encouraging,” the statement authors write. “Early reports raised concern for significant cardiac complications after infection in youth. However, subsequent review of outcomes in young athletes indicates that a majority have had no adverse cardiac [conditions] after asymptomatic or mild infection.”

For parents, the best thing you can do if your child gets COVID-19 is to keep a sharp eye on them.

“Like any other disease, parents know their children very well,” Greissman said. “So an active toddler or child or young adult that’s going on with his typical activities, not fatigued, sleeping well, does not have a fever, kind of their baseline is very reassuring. What parents need to look out for is based on the initial problem they presented with.”

“Children who present with heart disease will typically be weaker after the recovery, get shortness of breath with exercise easier, and are easily fatigued,” he continued. “This should improve with time, but the parents need to watch to see if there’s any change in their ability to do their daily activities.”

Finally, if your child seems to develop new symptoms after COVID-19 has abated, it might be time to seek additional medical attention.

“There may be a subset of children who have persistent symptoms or develop new symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty catching their breath with minimal activity, palpitations, headaches that last for more one month who may be showing signs of long COVID,” Lee said. “If there is a concern for long COVID, I recommend speaking to a specialist. Thankfully, pediatric long COVID is relatively rare.”



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