MIS-C underreported in children, study finds

A retroactive study found multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children was more common and more severe than previously reported.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open on Jan. 5, looked at COVID-19 and MIS-C hospitalizations in 31 states between February and October 2021 for individuals younger than 21. There were 4,107 individuals with MIS-C and 23,686 individuals with COVID-19 without MIS-C.

The study compared reported numbers in their analysis. They found the following as the number of organ systems affected increased from two to six or more:

  • Mortality from MIS-C increased from 1 percent to 6 percent.

  • Adverse medication events due to MIS-C increased from 5 percent to 18 percent.

  • The length of stay doubled from four to eight days for MIS-C patients.

  • Median costs for MIS-C increased from $16,225 to $53,359.

  • The percentage of patients with MIS-C who were Black doubled from 16 percent to 32 percent.

  • Hospital stays for MIS-C increased by one day for Black patients compared with White patients, with Black patients moving from the bottom to top quartile of socioeconomic vulnerability, with no disparity with COVID-19.

  • Researchers concluded that relying on mean outcomes for MIS-C from past studies can be misleading, because outcomes and disparities varied widely with the number of multiorgan dysfunctions, according to the report.

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