June 17, 2021

COVID-19 complication underdiagnosed

A mysterious inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19 infection and first identified in children also occurs in adults, Vanderbilt researchers report.

by Shivani Sharma

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) is the inflammation of various tissues and has been cited as a complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Originally identified in children, a form of MIS has since been described in adults (MIS-A).  

Giovanni Davogustto, MD, and colleagues identified and collected characteristics of adult patients at risk of MIS-A from electronic health records to better understand its presentation. Patients in the study were narrowed from the pool of patients testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and separated from those experiencing acute COVID-19 infection.   

The research published in JAMA Network Open showed that the average patient affected by MIS-A was younger than the average patient admitted for acute COVID-19 symptoms. Four organ systems were typically involved, with the most common being the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and hematologic system.  

These data suggest a larger variation in clinical presentation, lower illness severity, and underdiagnosis of MIS-A than previously thought. With further research, more MIS-A cases can be properly identified and treated.