Do we need to worry about post Covid heart complications in kids? Expert take
While the third wave is receding and active Covid cases are coming down, post-Covid cardiac complications like myocarditis are on rise. Are kids at risk? Here's what experts say.
On their path to Covid-19 recovery, many patients, especially those with low immunity, find themselves at the risk of suffering from post Covid complications. While the third wave is receding and active Covid cases are coming down, post-Covid cardiac complications like myocarditis are on rise. (Also read: Covid-19 linked with key cardiovascular risks: Study)
The post Covid heart complications though rare in kids can lead to devastating consequences if not treated on time. There has been an increase in cases of MIS-C (Multi-system inflammatory syndrome) in children which has been known to seriously impair the heart and its function, causing an inflammatory response in the heart arteries, muscles, and vessels, leading to inadequate pumping and eventually heart failure.
"Fortunately, Covid was gentler, milder, and less aggressive with children as they usually possess a robust immune system, that helps limit viral entry and reproduction, with a few exceptional cases where it targeted weak children with compromised immune systems or congenital defects," Dr Yogesh Kumar Gupta, Head of Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru.
"As far as Covid in kids is concerned incidence and chances is a lot less in kids than in adults. However, for the kids who have got it, for 1-2% it can be severe. The heart diseases that the child can get - myocarditis if fairly common disease (overall) which shows symptoms of heart failure. The other is vascular thrombosis which is not that common. The incidence of myocarditis is also very less in kids," says Dr Ajay Kaul Chairman - Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Noida.
"In some rare cases, Covid, like any other virus, can trigger an immunological response (antigenic mimicry) in susceptible individuals, resulting in heart muscle damage and weakening (dilated cardiomyopathy). However, it is essential to be mindful of the fact that only a small percentage of people are affected by these issues," says Dr Gupta.
There is no reason to press the panic button as children suffering from severe Covid disease is rare and while MIS-C is a cause of concern, kids are known to recover fast and better if treated on time.
"If caught early, the prognosis is great, with higher chances of survival and recovery. Inversely, it might lead to morbidity and mortality if diagnosed in the later stages," adds Dr Gupta.
"The important thing to note is that recovery in kids is very good and fast (even if they get). The third important thing to note is - Multi organ failure in kids, which is a severe condition in kids. And a part of this disease involves the heart also. If I have to sum up overall - kids are quite resistant to COVID and fatality and serious form of infection is very less too. However there is a small number which can get serious infection and can make the heart weak," adds Dr Kaul.