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A 12-year-old girl in Louisiana infected with the novel coronavirus reportedly developed a rare inflammatory syndrome that temporarily stopped her heart. The condition may be the same one that doctors in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have warned is possibly linked to COVID-19 infections in some children.
Three weeks ago, Juliette Daly was in a battle for her life after she was airlifted to Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. She tested positive for the novel virus despite not showing any typical symptoms of it, according to local news station WBRZ. She reportedly went into cardiac arrest as doctors worked to insert a breathing tube.
“After they put the breathing tube down her throat, her heart stopped and they had to do extreme measures. They had to do two minutes of CPR. At that point, my whole world just crumbled,” Jennifer Daly, Juliette’s mother, told the outlet. She said her daughter had been “perfectly” healthy prior to her hospitalization and is a generally active child.
“I died for two minutes,” Juliette said. “I felt really bad; my stomach would not stop hurting. I didn’t want to move; I didn’t want to live, I wanted for it all to stop.”
The preteen was then diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition that can lead to high fevers and swollen arteries, similar to Kawasaki disease, or a condition that causes swelling in medium-sized arteries throughout the body. Kawasaki disease, which primarily affects children, often leads to inflammation in the coronary arteries, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“COVID-19 can infect the heart and it can cause the cells in the heart to be unhappy and actually start to die,” pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jake Kleinmahon told WBRZ.
Thankfully, Juliette is on the mend. Her mother said she is grateful for the quick treatment her daughter received.
The news comes after British health authorities in a warning to health care professionals over the weekend said that some severely ill pediatric patients in the country — including some who have tested positive for the coronavirus — have presented an “unusual clinical picture” that includes inflammatory symptoms possibly linked to COVID-19.
The U.K. Pediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS), citing an email alert from the National Health Service (NHS) England, said in a news release that health officials have reported “a small rise in the number of cases of critically ill children presenting with an unusual clinical picture,” or, more specifically, a “multi-system inflammatory state” that may be connected to the novel virus.
“The cases have in common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children. Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms have been a common feature as has cardiac inflammation,” the NHS notice reads, per PICS.
A similar condition also affected at least three children in New York who have tested positive for the novel virus.