Infant's COVID-19–Related Myocardial Injury Reversed

Richard Mark Kirkner

December 07, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Reports of signs of heart failure in adults with COVID-19 have been rare — just four such cases have been published since the outbreak started in China — and now a team of pediatric cardiologists in New York have reported a case of acute but reversible myocardial injury in an infant with COVID-19.

The 2-month-old infant went home after more than 2 weeks in the hospital with no apparent lingering cardiac effects of the illness and not needing any oral heart failure medications, Madhu Sharma, MD, of the Children's Hospital and Montefiore in New York and colleagues reported in JACC Case Reports. With close follow-up, the child's left ventricle size and systolic function have remained normal and mitral regurgitation resolved. The case report didn't mention the infant's gender.

But before the straightforward postdischarge course emerged, the infant was in a precarious state, and Sharma and her team were challenged to diagnose the underlying causes.

The child, who was born about 7 weeks premature, first came to the hospital having turned blue after choking on food. Nonrebreather mask ventilation was initiated in the ED, and an examination detected a holosystolic murmur. A test for COVID-19 was negative, but a later test was positive, and a chest x-ray exhibited cardiomegaly and signs of fluid and inflammation in the lungs.

An electrocardiogram detected sinus tachycardia, ST-segment depression and other anomalies in cardiac function. Further investigation with a transthoracic ECG showed severely depressed left ventricle systolic function with an ejection fraction of 30%, severe mitral regurgitation, and normal right ventricular systolic function.

Treatment included remdesivir and intravenous antibiotics. Through the hospital course, the patient was extubated to noninvasive ventilation, reintubated, put on intravenous steroid (methylprednisolone) and low-molecular-weight heparin, extubated, and tested throughout for cardiac function.

By day 14, left ventricle size and function normalized, and while the mitral regurgitation remained severe, it improved later without heart failure therapies. Left ventricle ejection fraction had recovered to 60%, and key cardiac biomarkers had normalized. On day 16, milrinone was discontinued, and the care team determined the patient no longer needed oral heart failure therapies.

"Most children with COVID-19 are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, but our case shows the potential for reversible myocardial injury in infants with COVID-19," said Sharma. "Testing for COVID-19 in children presenting with signs and symptoms of heart failure is very important as we learn more about the impact of this virus."

Sharma and coauthors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

JACC Case Rep. Published online December 2, 2020. Full text

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