There are few reports of COVID-19 in pediatric patients with rheumatic diseases. This study describes the clinical presentation and outcomes of COVID-19 in this population.
We analyzed a single-center case series of pediatric patients with rheumatic diseases and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Demographic, baseline and COVID-19 associated clinical features were compared between ambulatory and hospitalized patients using univariate analysis.
Forty cases were identified: 32 (80%) in the ambulatory group and 8 (20%) hospitalized. Older age (median age 18 years vs 16 years; p = 0.01) and African American race (OR 8.42; 95% CI [1.20-101.69]; p = 0.01) predominated in hospitalized patients. Systemic lupus erythematosus (OR 6.77; 95% CI [1.01–56.71]; p = 0.02), medium/high-dose corticosteroid use (OR 10.62; 95% CI [1.46–99.57]; p = 0.008), mycophenolate use (OR 11.91; 95% CI [1.64-149.35]; p = 0.005), and severe immunosuppression (OR 16.83; 95% CI [1.74-861.43]; p = 0.004) were associated with increased odds of hospitalization. Patients with fever (OR 11.91; 95% CI [1.64-149.35]; p = 0.004), dyspnea (OR 16.51; CI [1.10-998.37]; p = 0.02), and myalgias (OR 13.40; 95% CI [1.43-194.56)]; p = 0.009) were more commonly encountered in the hospitalized group. Rheumatic disease flares were almost exclusive to hospitalized patients (OR 42.13; 95% CI [3.40-2463.87]; p < 0.001).. All patients recovered.
Medium/high-dose corticosteroid use, mycophenolate use, and severe immunosuppression were risk factors for hospitalization. Fever, dyspnea and myalgias were high-risk symptoms. The type of rheumatic disease, as well as disease flare could be contributing factors to the need for hospitalization.