Mighty Blog

Heart disease and COVID-19: what parents need to know

Many parents are worried about their kids and what may happen if they get COVID-19. This is especially true for parents who have a child with certain medical conditions – like heart disease.

We talked with Dr. Bradford Chu, pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Children’s Minnesota and the Children’s Heart Clinic, about how COVID-19 may affect kids with heart disease and how parents can help.

Are kids with heart disease at a higher risk for COVID-19? What about MIS-C?

Based on Dr. Chu’s experience with his patients and research he and his team have done, “Most kids with congenital heart defects (CHD) [and heart disease] are not at a higher risk of COVID-19. And the rates of people with CHDs and who get COVID are not higher.”

Many parents also wonder about their kids and the risk of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), an illness that occurs in children after having COVID-19. According to Dr. Chu, “Luckily, only a few patients at the Heart Clinic have been diagnosed with MIS-C.”

How do kids with heart disease get treated for COVID-19 and MIS-C?

In general, the treatment is the same for kids who have heart disease and kids who do not. It is supportive care such as oxygen, intravenous fluids and respiratory support. There are no approved anti-viral medicines for this disease in children.

Children's Minnesota doctor helping cardiovascular patient

How can I keep my child with heart disease safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As many parents with children who have heart disease know, keeping their kids extra safe from illnesses is important. That stays true when talking about heart disease and COVID-19. The safety precautions stay the same:

  • Wear a mask: Even doubling-up on your masks helps with COVID-19.
  • Keep your distance: Stay 6 feet or more away from others.
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure: Stay home when possible to avoid unnecessary exposure.
  • Get vaccinated: When the supply increases and parents become eligible for vaccine, take the first one offered to you. They all work to prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19 at 100 percent.

How Children’s Minnesota can help kids with heart disease during COVID-19

Kids with heart disease who have had COVID-19 or are worried about COVID-19 can lean on Children’s Minnesota for support during this time (and beyond!).

Children’s Minnesota’s cardiovascular department treats the most pediatric cardiology patients in Minnesota and our outcomes are some of the best in the country. Our cardiovascular program is the only one in the region that is part of a health system dedicated exclusively to children.

The Children’s Heart Clinic offers comprehensive cardiovascular care at 11 clinics and one hospital location. Find a location and contact us today if you need support for your child with heart disease.

Alexandra Rothstein