Coronavirus complication prompts heart transplant in previously healthy teen, doctor says

One doctor recently worked to dispel the idea that COVID-19 illness does not affect children, as he described a severe case involving a heart transplant.

Though COVID-19 infections tend to run a milder course in younger populations, complications do happen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously said.

“Sadly we have had a few dozen cases of COVID-19 that have required hospitalization of children here locally,” Dr. Kenny Bramwell, ER physician and medical director for St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Idaho, said during a media briefing Tuesday.

Bramwell said a few cases were “in the most severe category,” and involved a serious coronavirus-related inflammatory condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. This condition usually involves shock, heart malfunction, stomach pain and hyperinflammation. Earlier this month, the CDC also reported a similar condition among adults – multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A).

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Bramwell described a severe case involving a previously healthy teenager whose condition worsened, and was then transported to another city to await a heart transplant. He did not share further details.

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“While COVID-19 is commonly inconsequential for many people, there are a subset of people who become exceptionally sick,” Bramwell said. “Sometimes it’s sick enough to require a heart transplant and sometimes a chronic problem where somebody has difficulty breathing or moving around their home or doing their normal activities for months.”

He reported of many patients experiencing long-haul symptoms that are difficult to navigate.

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