Multisystem inflammatory syndrome can affect lungs, heart and brain
Adults with severe COVID-19 risk developing dangerous levels of inflammation simultaneously in several key organs, including the brain, heart, lung and kidneys, according to findings released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This condition, known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome, has also been observed in more than 400 children nationally who were infected with the new coronavirus, the agency said.
It has been compared with Kawasaki Disease Shock Syndrome, which describes patients with Kawasaki disease who experience a 20% or more decline in blood pressure.
Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body, and it most often affects children 5 and younger, according to the CDC.
Fewer than 20,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with the condition annually, the agency estimates.
In the findings, the CDC described cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in 16 adults infected with COVID-19. All 16 were hospitalized as a result, and two — a 46-year-old Black American male and 31-year-old Black American female — died, the agency said.
The 14 surviving patients all spent significant time in the hospital, some as long as three weeks, before recovering.
All 16 patients had the common symptoms of COVID-19, as well as hypotension, or low blood pressure, the CDC said.
Thirteen of the 14 surviving patients were all treated with corticosteroids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve survival in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the agency said.
Some also received blood thinners, convalescent blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19 and remdesivir, an antiviral medication being studied in the treatment of the new coronavirus, the CDC said.
The two patients with multi-system inflammatory syndrome who died were admitted to the hospital in critical condition and did not survive long enough to receive treatment, the agency said.
“Further research is needed to understand the [development] and long-term effects of this condition,” CDC researchers wrote.
“Ultimately, the recognition of multi-system inflammatory syndrome reinforces the need for prevention efforts to limit spread of [COVID-19],” they added.