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Utah doctors study COVID vaccine-related myocarditis in children

A gloved hand holds a small bottle containing a COVID-19 vaccine.

As the COVID-19 vaccine became more available, some cases of heart inflammation in men in their 20’s and 30’s started popping up. As the COVID-19 vaccine became available to younger populations in the US, pediatricians including Doctor Dongngan Truong with University of Utah Health, started to notice cases of myocarditis, which is essentially inflammation of the heart.

“We started to see a case here and there and we started to wonder, how do these kids present? We felt that it was important so that people within the community know what to look out for and to provide information on how these kids do in the short term,” Dongngan Truong said

Dr. Truong is a part of a team of researchers from Utah and Massachusetts that published a study this week about this particular side effect from the COVID vaccine in the journal of the American Heart.In patients under 21, the data suggests vaccine-related myocarditis is mild and resolves quickly.

“We weren't able to determine the frequency or the incidence of post vaccine myocarditis given that we were just collecting data on those that presented with myocarditis,” Dongngan Truong said.

However, research by Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington found these cases were rare.

“They had an incidence in the 16 to 17 year old’s, if I recall, of about 0.008%. And then in the younger age group, I believe that 12 to 15, it was 0.01%. So overall, quite rare,' said Dongngan Truong. 'And those findings are similar to what the CDC had found.”

More research on these cases needs to be done to understand the long term effects of vaccine- related myocarditis.

But as far as the COVID Vaccine, Dongngan Truong said, “None of the kids with post-vaccine myocarditis we have seen so far in our series have died, so everybody has survived.”