COVID-19 risk for children with heart disease
Parents of children with heart conditions have many questions about COVID-19. How will it affect their child? What will happen if their child gets the virus? Pediatric cardiologist Jon Lucas, MD, answered these questions and more.
Should you be concerned about COVID-19 if your child has congenital heart disease?
“While we should all be concerned about COVID-19, most children with congenital heart disease have not been shown to be at higher risk for severe complications than other children when they contract the virus. At this point, we have no evidence suggesting that we should be any more worried about COVID-19 infections in children with a heart condition,” said Dr. Lucas.
What precautions should you take if your child has a heart condition?
“With a few exceptions, we are not currently advising additional precautions for pediatric heart patients. They should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommended for the general population, which include social distancing, mask wearing and good hand hygiene. In addition to these precautions, those around a child with a heart condition should consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine. We would strongly encourage parents to receive the vaccine to help further protect themselves and their children,” said Dr. Lucas.
What should you know about multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)?
“Children who contract COVID-19 can sometimes develop a serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). This syndrome presents with fever, severe illness requiring hospitalization and involvement of multiple organ systems, often including the heart. Patients suspected of having MIS-C require a thorough cardiology evaluation and ongoing cardiology follow-up during their recovery. Fortunately, most children who develop MIS-C recover with treatment,” said Dr. Lucas.
Should you take any precautions before your child returns to sports after having COVID-19?
“There has also been concern about children returning to sports after COVID-19 due to the possibility of heart complications. Most children with COVID-19 do not develop cardiac complications. We are currently not advising special cardiac clearance prior to returning to sports for children who have asymptomatic infections or mildly symptomatic infections without specific cardiac symptoms. It is important to talk to a pediatric cardiologist if your child experienced moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms, suffered any cardiac symptoms while infected or required hospitalization due to the virus,” said Dr. Lucas.
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