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Study: Children with COVID more likely to develop blood clots, heart issues, kidney failure

August 9, 2022

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Children and adolescents with COVID-19 were significantly more likely to develop rare but potentially serious conditions, including blood clots in their lung or veins, heart issues, kidney failure or type 1 diabetes compared to their peers without COVID, according to a new study.

“COVID-19 prevention strategies are critical to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent illness, including post-COVID symptoms and conditions,” researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote in a new study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The team analyzed medical claim data on nearly 800,000 children under 18 years with COVID-19 and used demographics to match them to children without COVID. Patients were followed for 60-365 days. To compare how often certain conditions and symptoms occurred, they used hazard ratios in which a ratio of one indicates no difference between the groups.

The data showed the conditions with the highest hazard ratios were

  • acute pulmonary embolism (2.01),
  • myocarditis and cardiomyopathy (1.99),
  • venous thromboembolic event (1.87),
  • acute and unspecified renal failure (1.32) and
  • type 1 diabetes (1.23).

Authors noted these conditions were rare or uncommon. The COVID group also was more likely to have smell and taste disturbances, circulatory symptoms, malaise/fatigue and musculoskeletal pain.

The group without COVID was more likely to have respiratory symptoms, symptoms of mental conditions, muscle disorders, neurological conditions, anxiety/fear-related disorders, mood disorders and sleeping disorders. Authors said these children, who were pulled from a cohort with a health care visit, may have been unhealthier at baseline.

This difference in health care status at baseline was a potential limitation of the study along with potential misclassification of conditions or COVID status, no adjustment for receipt of a COVID vaccine and high enrollment from Medicaid managed care patients.

In a separate study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, eight pediatric hospitals responding to a survey found increased rates of intracranial bacterial infections during the pandemic. The CDC said it is looking into whether there is an actual increase and what might be causing it.





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