AUSTIN (KXAN) — Doctors at Dell Children’s Medical Center are sharing key takeaways after being part of an international study analyzing a rare post-COVID illness.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C strikes after a COVID-19 infection. It can cause inflammation to organs including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. 

“I think the great news is that once the kids are past the hospitalization, they seem to have done fantastic. There were a few patients who had the coronary abnormalities that we’re continuing to watch,” explained Dr. Keren Hasbani, pediatric cardiologist at Dell Children’s and Director of Cardiac Magnetic Imaging.

During the pandemic she said her team treated 93 MIS-C patients and had one death. As of this past week, there are no kids with MIS-C at the hospital. 

“We believe that – that’s because the variant has mutated and changed, not because kids are no longer getting COVID,” said Dr. Hasbani. “We truly believe that how your immune system was responding to other variants of COVID was causing the MIS-C.”

COVID MUSIC Study

Dr. Hasbani has been studying MIS-C closely. 

She said that 20 children from Central Texas have been part of the MUSIC study, short for Long-Term Outcomes after the MUltisystem Inflammatory Syndrome IChildren.

The study includes 1,200 children who were diagnosed with MIS-C between June of 2021 to this past January. The study across the U.S. and Canada is now part of a bigger analysis on the recovery of COVID

“I think we learned so much from this study, by being able to have 30 pediatric cardiology centers come together, tell us their findings,” explained Dr. Hasbani. “We were able to change our treatment protocol, we became much sharper in diagnosing these and treating them very quickly.” 

According to state data, as of November, Texas has had close to 700 MIS-C cases, 50% were among Hispanic or Latino children.

“We don’t know why –  that part, we’re hoping the study will still be able to kind of delineate with the fact that we’ve asked kids who had MIS-C, and the parents to give saliva samples for genetic testing to see if we can figure out is there something different genetically that put them at higher predisposition to get the MIS-C,” said Dr. Hasbani. 

MIS-C Nationwide

Local health departments across Texas have been reporting MIS-C cases to the state. The data is updated every month. 

The team at Dell Children’s continues to monitor the patients in the study. 

According to the CDC, during the omicron period this year compared to 2020 and 2021, overall, MIS-C decreased nationwide, and the most commonly affected age group shifted from children 5 to 11 years old to children younger than 5. Also, early data suggests that ICU admission and severe MIS-C decreased. 

Dr. Hasbani cautioned now with flu, RSV and COVID cases spiking everyone should take precautions including staying home when sick, washing hands frequently, wearing a mask if not feeling well and getting vaccinated. 

She added that about 95% of children Dell Children’s treated with MIS-C weren’t vaccinated but eligible for the COVID shots.