Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19 in Kids
What is pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome?
In rare cases, children who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus have presented with a post-infection inflammatory syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by high fevers and some children may have features similar to Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation of blood vessels and within organs such as the eyes, tongue, lips, skin, hands, feet and heart. Other children may present with fevers, abdominal complaints or low blood pressure. Because the condition is an immune response to the COVID-19 virus, it has been named pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome in association with COVID-19 or MIS-C.
It is of importance to note that this syndrome now has been seen much less frequently with the recent strains of COVID-19. This syndrome is considered an increasingly rare complication at this time.
Vaccination against COVID-19 has correlated with the decreased frequency of this complication and is strongly recommended.
What are the symptoms of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome?
- Persistent fever greater than 101
- Red or swollen hands and feet
- Red, inflamed lips and tongue
- Redness of the eyes
- Diffuse rash
- Stomach pain
- Headache or altered mental status
The symptoms above can be related to other health conditions and not necessarily due to COVID-19. If you have any concerns about your child's health, contact your child's physician or provider.
How is pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome treated?
Although rare, pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome is a serious medical condition and requires immediate medical attention. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Doctors may perform certain tests to look for inflammation or other signs of the disease. These tests might include:
- Blood tests to check various inflammatory markers, cell counts, and renal and liver function
- Chest x-ray
- Heart ultrasound (echocardiogram)
- Abdominal ultrasound
Doctors may provide medicine, fluids or both and may use various medicines to treat inflammation. Most children with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome need to be treated in the hospital.
For more information on pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome:
Reiff DD, Cron RQ. Who Would Have Predicted Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children?. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2022;24(1):1-11. doi:10.1007/s11926-022-01056-8