Recent Data on COVID-19 pandemic with focus on children with congenital heart disease

In cooperation with many pediatric cardiologists, the German Society for Pediatric Cardiology (DGPK) collected data that analyze the course of COVID-19 infections in children in general and with special focus on children with cardiovascular diseases.

The original publication can be found on the DGPK website and can also be downloaded here.

In summary, it could be shown that the courses of COVID-19 infections in children overall are mild, and no particularly severe courses could be observed in children with cardiovascular diseases. This also applies to the group of children who underwent heart transplantation.

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Swiss Society of Cardiology Award 2020

PD Dr. med. Martin Christmann won this year's Swiss Society of Cardiology Prize for his research in the "Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology" section on "Advanced imaging and new cardiac biomarkers in long-term follow-up after childhood cancer"! We are very happy about this award for our scientific work!

The award can be viewed at the following link, even if the pictures of the award winners were exchanged ;)

LINK for the award ceremony

Kinderherzen - Center for Pediatric Cardiology becomes teaching practice at the University of Zurich

In the future, medical students from the 4th and 6th year will complete courses at the Center for Pediatric Cardiology as part of their studies. For us as a center for science and education, training young colleagues is very important. Of course, parents and patients will be asked in advance whether participation in a student course under supervision is possible.

Current recommendations for children with heart disease during the corona pandemic

Not only in children and adolescents with congenital heart defects / heart diseases and their parents, there is currently great concern about a possible corona infection. In the following we would like to give all interested parties, but above all the above-mentioned patient groups and relatives, some information from the specialist societies in the German-speaking area. We refer to currently published recommendations (including the Swiss (SGPK) and the German Society for Pediatric Cardiology, DGPK). We have the relevant literature references and can be requested by email if desired.

 

 

General information:

According to all previous information from various countries, the vast majority of Corona virus infections in children and adolescents are either completely asymptomatic or show only mild symptoms of a respiratory infection. This assessment is based on the publication of data from several thousand children from various European countries as well as China and the USA. Adult risk profiles such as cardiac disease in adulthood (e.g. coronary heart disease), high blood pressure or chronic lung diseases cannot be transferred to childhood.

 

Relaxation measures:

With the start of the easing measures since May 2020, the schools, day care centers and kindergartens will gradually open again - under officially defined safety precautions, which can be found on the BAG website, among other things. At the time of the complete end of school, children and adolescents as well as all relatives were exposed to great psychosocial pressure. When schools open, important social contacts are made possible again. This way back to normality, including school attendance, is especially to be advocated for children and adolescents with heart defects and heart diseases. Overall, the well-known positive effects of social interaction and schooling outweigh the possible minor effects of an infection with the Corona virus in childhood and adolescence in this patient group.

 

School attendance and risk groups:

The specialist societies think it is wrong to isolate a child only because of a congenital heart defect that may already have been treated. Individual subgroups of patients with congenital heart defects could suggest a more severe course of the disease due to the mechanism of the disease - however, despite thousands of infections, there is as yet no evidence of this. The following groups could be named for a potentially slightly increased risk of a more severe course:

 

  1. Infants with uncorrected heart defects and increased pulmonary flow

  2. Patients with drug-treated pulmonary hypertension

  3. Patients with chronic / severe heart failure, for example with dilated cardiomyopathy

  4. Patients with a poorly functioning font circulation (eg with protein loss enteropathy, plastic bronchitis, ..)

  5. Patients with congenital heart defects and at the same time existing chronic lung disease

  6. Patients with congenital severe immunodeficiency

  7. In some transplanted patients (especially with a poor course with regard to previous rejection reactions, high immunosuppression, ...)

 

If you or your child belong to one of these groups, it is advisable to discuss with your child's cardiologist if necessary individual measures for compulsory schooling or kindergarten - together with the teachers. However, since not all patients in these groups really have an increased risk and this also depends on many other factors such as other comorbidities, each case should be discussed individually. A general exemption from attending school or working is not recommended.

 

Hygiene measures

The known hygiene measures defined by the BAG should of course also be observed by patients with congenital heart defects.

 

Heart muscle inflammation caused by coronaviruses

So far, there is NO evidence that coronavirus patients with congenital heart defects are at increased risk of myocarditis.

 

 

Reference:

Statements from the Swiss Society for Pediatric Cardiology (SGPK) and the German Society for Pediatric Cardiology (DGPK), whose homepages also contain the relevant summaries.

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