An international study offers a clearer picture of the effects of COVID-19 on children

A new international study offers a clearer picture of the impact of COVID-19 infection and the risk of severe consequences for young people around the world.

The study was led jointly by a team of researchers from the University of Calgary School of Medicine (CSM), Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and the University of California, Davis Medical Center. He followed more than 10,300 children in 41 emergency departments in 10 countries, including Canada and the United States, Italy, Spain and Australia.

The researchers followed more than 3,200 children who visited hospital emergency departments and tested positive for COVID-19. Approximately three percent (107 in total) of those diagnosed with COVID-19 had severe results within two weeks of their visit to the emergency department. In addition, 23 percent (735 in total) were hospitalized for treatment. Severe results include cardiac or cardiovascular complications, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), as well as neurological, respiratory or infectious problems. Four children died. The study was published in JAMA Network Open.

The study aims to quantify the frequency and risk factors for severe outcomes in children with COVID-19. We have found that older age, the presence of a pre-existing chronic condition and the duration of symptoms are important risk factors for severe outcomes. “

Dr. Stephen Friedman, MD, co-researcher, pediatrician and professor at CSM

Researchers also found that children considered healthy at the first visit to the emergency department rarely deteriorated significantly after the first visit.

“Fortunately, the risk of developing severe disease in children with COVID-19 discharged from the emergency department is very low,” said study co-leader Dr. Todd Florin, MD, MD, MSCE, director of Emergency Medicine Research. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Feinberg. “Our findings can provide reassurance to parents and clinicians about children well enough to be managed in the community, while providing important information about which children may be at particular risk of severe outcomes.

Although asthma has previously been suggested as a risk factor for severe outcome, this study is unable to confirm a link. He also did not find that many young babies are at higher risk of severe outcomes.

“As emergency departments around the world are monitoring the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stressful capacity, this study will help address the increase by providing a risk assessment of pediatric COVID-19 patients undergoing emergency screening.” said Dr. Nathan Cooperman, MD, MPH, chairman of Emergency Medicine at the Davis Medical Center of the University of California and co-leader of the study. “This will support more effective sorting of pediatric patients by emergency physicians, knowing who is at risk for severe outcomes and will focus advanced care on those who do.”

The study was conducted within the Pediatric Emergency Research Network, a global consortium of the world’s major emergency pediatric research networks. He received support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta Innovates, Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary. He also received COVID grants from the University of California, Davis, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Anna Funk, Ph.D., an epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow at UCalgary, is the lead author of the study.

“Currently, there are no specific evidence-based treatments and therapies for children and there is a lack of detailed research data describing the results in young people with COVID-19, so this study offers important insights that we believe will be useful for first-line care providers. treating children with COVID-19, ”adds Friedman.


Reference in the magazine:

funk, AC, et al. (2022) Results of SARS-CoV-2-positive youth tested in emergency departments PERN-COVID-19 Global Survey. Jama’s open network.

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