Later that day, Juliet’s heart stopped beating in the emergency room and doctors had to perform CPR to revive the 12-year-old.
The syndrome causes the immune system to overreact, leading to inflammation throughout the body. It affects several organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys and “really all the cells of the body,” Dr. Jake Kleinmahon, a pediatric cardiologist at Ochsner Hospital for Children in New Orleans, told CNN.
She was ‘about as close to death as you can get,’ doctor says
After going into cardiac arrest, Juliet was airlifted to the Ochsner Hospital for Children, where she had to stay on a ventilator. Her heart was “barely squeezing,” Kleinmahon said, and she would soon test positive for Covid-19.
Kleinmahon, who treated Juliet, says she “was about as close to death as you can get” when she first arrived at the hospital.
“I really didn’t understand how serious it was but I was scared,” Juliet said.
Her parents thought it was a possibility she could have the virus but were unsure because it’s more common in adults.
“We sort of had paused taking her in just because you know, you don’t want to overwhelm the medical system,” Sean Daly said.
Some children suffering MICS have developed the syndrome after healing from Covid-19, but Kleinmahon says no one can say with complete confidence that both conditions are linked.
Juliet was able to begin breathing on her own after four days on a ventilator and her heart and other organs had recovered by the time she was discharged on April 15.
“When she first woke up, she wanted water and then she wanted my wife to tell her teachers that she was in the hospital,” Daly said.
It’s similar to Kawasaki disease
Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart. It produces a high temperature lasting over five days, a rash, swollen neck glands, cracked lips, swelling of hands and feet, and redness in both eyes.
Some experts are considering whether the novel coronavirus could be a trigger for Kawasaki disease. Earlier this week, a study published in The Lancet showed that the number of diagnosed Kawasaki-like cases among children in Bergamo, Italy, jumped 30-fold after the pandemic overtook the region.
“There’s certainly circumstantial evidence that is leading us to want to investigate that,” Burns said.
CNN’s Nadia Kounang, Amanda Sealy and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.