MIS-C is a hyperinflammatory syndrome that occurs in children who have likely had a recent COVID-19 infection. Children with symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infections may end up developing MIS-C. The condition usually develops three to four weeks after a COVID infection.
MIS-C causes inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body, causing limited blood flow that can damage the heart, kidneys and other organs.
MIS-C can present itself in different ways, and can copycat other conditions such as Kawasaki disease, toxic shock syndrome or macrophage activation syndrome.
Symptoms of MIS-C may include:
- Belly pain
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- A rash
- Neck pain
- Red, cracked lips
- Red eyes
- Being extra tired
- Swollen hands or feet
- Swollen lymph nodes
If a doctor suspects MIS-C, they will run testing to look for inflammation in the body. These tests may include:
- Blood and urine tests
- COVID-19 testing and antibody testing
- Chest X-ray
- Testing to look at the heart including electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart)
- Abdominal ultrasound
Treatment of MIS-C may include multiple specialists including infectious disease, cardiology (heart), rheumatology (bones, joints and immune system), and critical care.
How a doctor treats MIS-C will depend on the patient’s symptoms and test results. Treatment may include oxygen, medications, and intravenous (IV) fluids to help reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots, and protest the affected organs from more problems. Some children might need treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU).