Experts weigh in
Scott Aydin, MD, medical director of pediatric cardiac intensive care, Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital in New York City, said that this case report is “unfortunately not all that surprising.
“Since the initial presentations of MIS-C several months ago, we have suspected mechanisms of direct and indirect injury to the myocardium. This important work is just the next step in further understanding the mechanisms of how COVID-19 creates havoc in the human body and the choices of possible therapies we have to treat children with COVID-19 and MIS-C,” said Dr. Aydin, who was not involved with the case report.
Anish Koka, MD, a cardiologist in private practice in Philadelphia, noted that, in these cases, endomyocardial biopsy is “rarely done because it is fairly invasive, but even when it has been done, the pathologic findings are of widespread inflammation rather than virus-induced cell necrosis.”
“While reports like this are sure to spawn viral tweets, it’s vital to understand that it’s not unusual to find widespread organ dissemination of virus in very sick patients. This does not mean that the virus is causing dysfunction of the organ it happens to be found in,” Dr. Koka said in an interview.
He noted that, in the case of the young girl who died, it took high PCR-cycle threshold values to isolate virus from the lung and heart samples.
“This means there was a low viral load in both organs, supporting the theory of SARS-CoV-2 as a potential trigger of a widespread inflammatory response that results in organ damage, rather than the virus itself infecting and destroying organs,” said Dr. Koka, who was also not associated with the case report.
This research had no specific funding. The authors declared no competing interests. Dr. Aydin disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Koka disclosed financial relationships with Boehringer Ingelheim and Jardiance.
This article first appeared on Medscape.com.