When the 14-year-old arrived at her doctor’s office on May 9, her blood pressure had dropped dangerously and she was suffering from heart failure.
She was taken by ambulance to Randall Children Hospital in Portland and diagnosed with Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, the first known case in Oregon of a recently discovered COVID-19 syndrome.
The syndrome, according to Dr. Mark Buchholtz, a pediatric intensive care doctor at Randall, is similar to Kawasaki disease, a disease that causes inflamed blood vessels. But the syndrome presents itself somewhat differently.
Coronavirus in Oregon: Recent news | Live map tracking |Text alerts | Bulletin
“We have never seen this before,” said Buchholtz.
He said the girl was in good health and had no significant medical history. However, it tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
“She followed all of the recommendations,” said Buchholtz, “taking shelter on site, not going to school. “
“She went to the grocery store, but she didn’t meet anyone sick,” he added. “She was wearing a mask and none of her family members were sick. “
Doctors do not know when the girl contracted the virus, only that she recovered from it and then fell with the non-communicable syndrome.
Doctors at Randall were able to stabilize the girl with a combination of drugs to increase her blood pressure and lower her immune response. After 48 hours, Buchholtz said she was feeling much better.
She is still taking medicine to help her heart, but Buchholtz thinks she could go home in a week.
“But it is day to day,” said Buchholtz, noting that the disease had been identified on April 28 and that there were many questions about the long-term effects of the disease.
In other parts of the country, the victims of the new disease have not been so fortunate. In New York, three children died from the syndrome.
One of the effects of the coronavirus has been a reluctance to go to doctors and go to the emergency room, said Buchholtz. This is worrisome for many reasons, but it is imperative, he said, that parents immediately take children with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome symptoms to a health care professional.
These symptoms may include unexplained fever, abdominal pain, or a pink eye.
“We strive to let the community know that it exists, it’s not just in New York and California,” said Buchholtz. “We see it. “
Buchholtz urged parents of children with symptoms of any serious illness, including fractures and sprains, to seek medical attention.
“Pediatricians and doctors installed it in their offices to do it safely,” he said. “It is best if the child is treated sooner rather than later. “
– Lizzy Acker
503-221-8052, [email protected], @lizzzyacker
Subscribe to Oregonian / OregonLive newsletters and podcasts for the latest news and the best stories.