Dell Children’s part of international study into rare illness linked to COVID-19

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Dell Children’s joins 29 academic institutions in the first long-term pediatric COVID study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Dr. Keren Hasbani, pediatric cardiologist at Dell Children’s and Pediatric & Congenital Cardiology Associates, an affiliate of Pediatrix Medical Group is the principal investigator for the study at Dell Children’s.  Watch more here @KXAN.

This study will provide long-term outcome data on the newly defined Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children, or MIS-C, which usually occurs in otherwise healthy children and has disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic/Latino children. Dr. Jane Newburger of Boston Children’s Hospital is spearheading the study nationally that will help to understand and combat the pediatric health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dell Children’s is following Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C) over the next five years to better understand this rare but severe response to C0VID-19, which will help lead to tailored recommendations for treatment,” said Dr. Hasbani. 

Dell Children’s Medical Center has treated more than 30 cases of MIS-C in children, 50% of those patients have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Hasbani leads the team of experts at Dell Children’s involved in the study of MIS-C, which includes pediatric cardiologists, hospitalists, infectious disease specialists, and pediatric hematologists.

While COVID-19 usually causes a mild illness in children, some children become seriously ill and develop MIS-C,” said Dr. Sarmistha Hauger, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Dell Children’s. “There is a lot we know about MIS-C, but what we don’t know is how it affects the human body overtime especially involving a child’s heart.” 

“Few studies have been conducted to characterize MIS-C associated coronary anatomy or ventricular function in children using standardized assessments, and there are no data about outcomes during longitudinal follow-up,” said Dr. Jane Newburger, Commonwealth Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Associate Cardiologist-in-Chief for Academic Affairs, Children’s Hospital Boston.

The study will include about 600 children from all over the country and Canada and will capture data from children who have already been diagnosed and recovered, as well as those who become infected within the coming 24 months.

Initially, COVID-19 appeared to be significantly less frequent in the young, leading to the belief that children were largely spared from the disease. However, reports of children with a rare condition associated with COVID-19, now known as MIS-C, first appeared from England in April 2020, and identification of cases in the US followed quickly thereafter.

MIS-C, as identified in those diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection or recent exposure to someone with COVID-19, can cause severe illness including fever, evidence of inflammation, and involvement of multiple bodily systems or organs that can’t be explained by any other cause. Many affected children are quite ill, but fortunately, most recover. The most common body systems affected are the digestive system and the heart and blood vessels.

To address these knowledge gaps, the study, which will be conducted in over 29 academic institutions in North America and Canada, will characterize the occurrence and time course of coronary abnormalities, left ventricular dysfunction, systemic non-cardiac organ dysfunction, inflammation, and major medical events in MIS-C. This understanding will support the development of clinical risk stratification models to improve management of the disease course.