Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOLehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, Salisbury Township CONTRIBUTED PHOTOLehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, Salisbury Township

Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital treats COVID-19 related PMIS

Thursday, May 21, 2020 by The Press in Focus

Pediatric specialists at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital have been closely monitoring the incidence of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome regionally and internationally and are prepared to care for children with the illness.

Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) causes significant inflammation in organ systems, skin rashes and other symptoms. The syndrome appears to be connected to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and has affected children in the United States.

Several children with PMIS have been treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the pediatric inpatient unit at the Children’s Hospital and are recovering.

The strictest safety precautions are being used to keep patients and health care providers COVID SAFE. Less than 1 percent of children tested positive for COVID-19 among the nearly 26,000 tests ordered for Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) patients.

“Pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome is both rare and treatable,” says J. Nathan Hagstrom, MD, Chair, Department of Pediatrics.

Standard treatment for the condition is steroid medication given to patients in conjunction with a commonly used IV medication (IVIG) used to treat inflammation in patients with an autoimmune disease.

“The majority of patients recover with no long-lasting effects and the percentage of children who die from the syndrome is very low,” Hagstrom said.

A team of 10 pediatric specialists at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital is meeting daily to discuss care plans for the patients hospitalized with the syndrome, as well as to review the latest disease trends and treatments.

The team includes Hagstrom, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist, two pediatric intensivists, two pediatric hospitalists, two pediatric cardiologists and two pediatric emergency medicine physicians.

Symptoms of PMIS are:

• Persistent fever

• Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting

• Skin rash or changes in skin color

• Difficulty breathing

• Confusion

• Both eyes appearing red

While the syndrome is often compared to Kawasaki disease, it is thought to be a separate condition.

There is much more to learn about the syndrome’s relationship to COVID-19.

However, what is certain is that social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask help protect children from COVID-19, and likely will also protect them from pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

“If your child has a fever, do not be overly alarmed,” Hagstrom said.

“Numerous illnesses can cause children to experience fever. Contact your child’s pediatrician or family medicine provider to discuss your child’s symptoms. Your provider will decide the best next steps and treatment for your child,” said Hagstrom.