Myocarditis in the pediatric population is a disease process that carries significant morbidity and mortality. Prior to the SARS-CoV-2 related (COVID-19) pandemic, enteroviruses were the most common cause. Since 2020, myocarditis linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is now common.
Background: Although rare, myocarditis in the pediatric population is a disease process that carries significant morbidity and mortality. Prior to the SARS-CoV-2 related (COVID-19) pandemic, enteroviruses were the most common cause of classic myocarditis. However, since 2020, myocarditis linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is now common. In recent months, myocarditis related to COVID-19 vaccines has also been described. This study aims to compare these three different types of myocarditis with regards to clinical presentation, course, and outcomes. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we included all patients <21 years of age hospitalized at our institution with classic viral myocarditis from 2015-2019, MIS-C myocarditis from 3/2020-2/2021 and COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis from 5/2021-6/2021. We compared demographics, initial symptomatology, treatment, laboratory data, and echocardiogram findings. Results: Of 201 total participants, 43 patients had classic myocarditis, 149 had MIS-C myocarditis, and 9 had COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis. Peak troponin was highest in the classic myocarditis group, whereas the MIS-C myocarditis group had the highest recorded brain natriuretic peptide (BNP). There were significant differences in time to recovery of normal left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) for the three groups: nearly all patients with MIS-C myocarditis (n=139, 93%) and all patients with COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis (n=9, 100%) had normal LVEF at the time of discharge, but a lower proportion of the classic myocarditis group (n=30, 70%) had a normal LVEF at discharge (p<0.001). Three months post-discharge, 18 of 40 children (45%) in the classic myocarditis group still required heart failure treatment, whereas only one of the MIS-C myocarditis patients and none of the COVID-19 vaccine-associated myocarditis patients did. Conclusions: Compared to those with classic myocarditis, those with MIS-C myocarditis had more significant hematologic derangements and worse inflammation at presentation, but had better clinical outcomes, including rapid recovery of cardiac function. Patients with COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis had similar clinical presentation to patients with classic myocarditis, but their pattern of recovery was similar to those with MIS-C, with prompt resolution of symptoms and improvement of cardiac function. Long-term follow-up should focus on cardiac and non-cardiac consequences of myocarditis associated with COVID-19 illness and vaccination. Key Words: MIS-C, myocarditis, COVID-19, mRNA vaccine