Nicklaus Children’s Hospital sets up unit to treat multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)

Disorder has been affecting young people during the COVID-19 outbreak

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has announced a specialized unit for the treatment of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a disorder that is affecting young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The four-room ‘MIS-C pod’ is part of the hospital’s renowned 40-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, which routinely receives transfers of critically ill children from referring hospitals throughout the state,” the hospital said Tuesday morning.

MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As the pandemic progresses, we are likely to see increasing numbers of children with MIS-C,” said Dr. Balagangadhar Totapally, chief of the Division of Critical Care at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Southwest Miami-Dade County. “It’s important for families to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to be familiar with the symptoms of MIS-C, which primarily affects children.”

Symptoms of MIS-C include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Pink eye
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of hands and feet

The CDC warns parents to seek emergency care if their child shows any of these emergency warning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

The CDC does not yet know what causes MIS-C, but many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19.

“Part of this is we don’t have a lot of information,” said Michael Leoncio, a pediatric ICU physician at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “Were learning, we don’t have a lot of experience with this, but in general these patients have COVID or have been exposed to it at some point.”

MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but the CDC says that most children who were diagnosed with it have gotten better with medical care. So, Leoncio said parents who feel their child is sick should call their pediatrician, or urgent care, or 911 in the case of an emergency, to seek medical help.

“If caught early and if treated early, it has pretty positive outcome,” Leoncio said. “We are seeing cases, luckily they’re few they’re rare and most of them are doing well.”

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital says its MIS-C pod includes special barriers to prevent cross-contamination.

Children with MIS-C are not contagious in most cases, the hospital says, but since the syndrome is associated with exposure to COVID-19, precautions are in place, including a decontamination area for those entering and exiting the unit and “a specialized bed to help staff with the regular turning of intubated adolescent patients.”

“This new unit reflects our commitment to supporting our community as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses,” said Matthew A. Love, president and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System, the hospital’s parent organization. “In addition, we have resumed regular operations at most of our facilities throughout South Florida with enhanced safety practices, ensuring that families have access to the Nicklaus pediatric services they depend on for the care of their children.”

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