The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disease across the globe but children seem to be much less affected than adults. Coincidentally with the first wave of the pandemic, a cluster of children with fever, hyperinflammation and shock were identified, and this was first described as paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Patients with this novel condition were transferred to tertiary centres for management, increasing the pressure in these hospitals that were already extremely busy. There are multiple challenges related to the identification of patients presenting with PIMS-TS given that they mimic multiple other well-known paediatric conditions, like Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Investigations and admission criteria to a district general hospital (DGH) need to be well established, and clear guidance should be available for easy decision making in a busy paediatric emergency department. Furthermore, these children can deteriorate suddenly and rapidly; close monitoring is vital, and any deterioration must be taken seriously and addressed immediately. All children who present severely ill, with shock and multiorgan failure, should be retrieved to a paediatric intensive care unit. As our knowledge of the condition has developed, more patients are now managed in a DGH, with virtual multidisciplinary team involvement. This paper outlines a structured approach to management of children presenting with suspected PIMS-TS in a DGH.
- adolescent health
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JF, JS and TD are joint first authors.
Contributors JF and JT conceptualised the idea for this paper. JF, JS and TD did the literature review and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. VR contributed with specialist paediatric emergency advice. MG contributed with specialist paediatric infectious diseases advice. ACT contributed with specialist paediatric intensive care advice. JT contributed with specialist general paediatric advice. All authors reviewed the content and suggested amendements. Final version agreed prior to submission. The authors dedicate this article to the late Dr Ildiko Schuller, a much-loved consultant colleague who cared for the first patients identified with paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.