Inflammation of the heart in young adults weeks after COVID-19 infection being called concerning

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — There’s new reason for caution ahead of the start of school and potential return to fall sports.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a 90-percent increase in coronavirus cases in children over the course of the past four weeks nationwide.

“I’m not too surprised there’s more cases in young kids, just because there’s been such a rise in COVID cases all over,” said Dr. James Strainic, a University Hospitals pediatric cardiologist.

Dr. Strainic said he expects cases to rise as kids come together at school, but some are wondering about the larger implications on the future of sports this year.

“We’re at the mercy of parents if they want to allow their kids to play,” said Daryl Lehman, Cleveland’s Tri-League Little League president. “We’re at the mercy of coaches if they even feel comfortable coming back and coaching.”

Lehman says they were the first Cleveland league to cancel in the spring for the safety of its 300 children involved.

There’s also new concern about returning to sports and a condition called myocarditis in young adults who tested positive for the virus but were asymptomatic.

“There was a significant portion of patients that showed some swelling and inflammation of their heart even weeks, a month, after they had their disease and that’s a concern for returning to sports; that seems to be one of the driving factors in decision making for college sports,” said Dr. Strainic.

He advised those concerned to watch for symptoms. “Symptoms of myocarditis that may let you know you should be checked out if you’re having any funny heart beats, if you’re getting dizzy when you’re standing and if you’re getting short of breath with activity,” he said. “It may not be that you’re just de-conditioned but that something else is going on.”

Dr. Strainic said parents of school-aged children who will not be participating in sports are advised to watch for depression-like symptoms and encourage children to safely maintain the conditioning for their sport.

A children’s complication of coronavirus called multisystem inflammatory syndrome where parts of the body can become inflamed is reportedly rare at University Hospitals.

“There’s kind of a smoldering amount of cases,” said Dr. Strainic. “We’re seeing a few every month. Thankfully, this is a very rare disease.”

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