If he strikes, the child will end up in a critical condition in the hospital. Swollen mucous membranes, palms, feet. A mysterious new disease is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also damage the heart. According to the experience of Martin Hospital, if the disease is not diagnosed in time, it can have dramatic consequences. It can affect children and young people under the age of 21.
PIMS, a pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, is an inflammatory disease. It affects children four to six weeks after a mild or asymptomatic course of COVID-19. Small patients with this diagnosis are always in critical condition and need to be hospitalized. Several Slovak hospitals already have experience with their treatment.
The disease is accompanied by temperatures around 38 degrees and above. In addition, the child has inflamed conjunctivae, swollen and inflamed mucous membranes in his mouth, swollen palms, feet and rashes. Intensive abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea often also occur in small patients.
However, the Ministry of Health does not monitor the exact numbers of children with this disease. Elena Prokopová, chief expert of the Ministry of Health for general care for children and adolescents, says that we will probably have such a balance available only after the end of the pandemic. However, she personally encountered this syndrome in her outpatient clinic in the first wave. “It must be taken into account that such a case may not arise only after overcoming the COVID-19 disease. It can also be triggered by rotavirus, for example, “she explained.
“Because the Chinese variant of the coronavirus, unlike the British mutation, was not as infectious and severe in children, and we did not have many cases in the first wave, there were few children with PIMS at the time. They appeared even then, we just didn’t know if it was related to COVID-19, “Prokopová remarked.
According to her, patients with this diagnosis are currently in Slovak hospitals only after overcoming the coronavirus. These are usually children aged 5 or 6, but this is not the rule. This can happen in anyone under the age of 21 – they diagnose the disease in people from this limit below. “They don’t even have to know they had covid. He could pass completely without symptoms and at the time of PIMS symptoms, antigen or PCR tests will no longer detect positivity. This can only be determined by the presence of antibodies and the clinical picture. Then maybe people will find out that someone in the family has probably overcome the covid, “the expert explained.
Children should be monitored
The duration of treatment for patients with PIMS is individual, but it is not possible without hospitalization. “It is a serious condition because it can cause severe damage to the blood vessels of the heart. A lot depends on the stage at which the child gets to the hospital and how quickly the treatment is started, “Prokopová continues.
As after overcoming any serious illness, the patient may or may not have permanent consequences. “It simply came to our notice then. When treatment starts early and correctly, they may not stay. But it is really a very serious disease, “the doctor pointed out.
She immediately recalled that in addition to following all precautions, parents should be vigilant. “Even after overcoming the coronavirus in the family, it should be borne in mind that if a child develops fever and other symptoms within six weeks, they should contact a pediatrician immediately. Specialists have standard procedures – they know exactly what the syndrome looks like, how to treat it and what to monitor, “she added, stressing that early diagnosis is important.
Will there be more cases?
A rare syndrome affects children in several countries. In recent months, he was also treated in several Slovak medical facilities. “In the Children’s University Hospital with a polyclinic in Banská Bystrica, we had a total of five cases of PIMS and Kawasaki disease, the symptoms and course of which are often very similar. We currently have one patient and we are waiting for another as part of the translation from the catchment hospital, “says Head II. Children’s Clinic of the SZU in the Karol Králinský Hospital in Banská Bystrica.
He explained that the first case of PIMS was recorded last November. “Treatment can last for varying lengths of time, generally weeks to months. We have developed a protocol treatment that has several stages. The whole process is about which level of protocol it will take, “he said, adding that it is an immunosuppressive treatment to stop the pathological immune response of the organism. “Thanks to early diagnosis and timely treatment, we were able to save all five children. They are monitored by our hospital’s specialist outpatient clinics and they are doing well, “he said.
Králinský reminded that we currently record more than 106 million covid cases worldwide with a proportional proportion of the child population. It is therefore likely that we will encounter this syndrome more often in our country as well. “Therefore, it is important to think about this disease, recognize it in time and treat it adequately,” he underlined. He added that specialized pediatric facilities are equipped for the necessary monitoring and treatment of children with this diagnosis.
The University Hospital in Martin reported the first case of this syndrome last October. He currently has no pediatric patients with this disease. “In January, four children were hospitalized with us. In November and December, we had an average of one to two such patients per month, “said hospital spokeswoman Katarína Kapustová. From the experience of Martin’s health professionals, this disease most often affects children from 8 to 12 years of age, but it is not limited by age. It can also occur in younger people.
With PIMS, there is a risk of inflammation of the heart muscle and, if not diagnosed in time, can have dramatic consequences for the child. “It is treated by intravenous administration of immunoglobulin, corticoids are used, if antibiotics are also needed,” Kapustová explained. According to her, a child with this diagnosis is hospitalized for an average of 10 to 15 days, after which the treatment continues at home. Patients continue to be monitored in specialized clinics. “Since this is a disease that is relatively new in the medical world, the lasting consequences cannot be accurately talked about at the moment,” the spokeswoman added.
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