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Mother in NE Iowa says son is experiencing heart issues following mild COVID case

Kristi Ladage's son needs an MRI to fully diagnose his condition. But due to a high volume of other children experiencing similar issues, they'll have to wait.
Credit: WOI

TRIPOLI, Iowa — When Kristi Ladage's 16-year-old son Blake tested positive for COVID-19, she initially wasn't worried. Especially given the fact he's vaccinated and wears a mask while in school.

"He had a couple days where he was coughing," said Ladage. "But really, that was the extent of it, no fever."

Roughly five weeks later, Kristi's worries are now through the roof. 

"He has inflammation of his heart muscle as a result of COVID-19," Ladage told Local 5.

Blake started to have significant chest pains weeks after his diagnosis. The family was referred to a pediatric cardiology unit. While his doctor was able to provide an initial diagnosis, he needs an MRI to get a full conclusive picture. 

"He told me it would be at least two months, potentially longer, before we could have that cardiac MRI done," Ladage said. "And the reason he gave was because there are so many kids with cardiac complications after COVID-19 in Iowa right now, that that's what the wait time has become for this procedure."

The Mayo Clinic, which is actively studying long-haul symptoms, says its research shows 10% to 30% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 end up with these lingering symptoms. The health system says it's just starting to scratch the surface of learning why these lasting symptoms happen. 

"Let's not focus on curing this right now, but give the patients all of the skills and strategies they need to manage these symptoms so they can stay in control of their conditions," said Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, medical director for Mayo Clinic's COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program.

For now, Kristi and her family anxiously await her son's turn for an MRI. Until then, they are strictly following orders for Blake to take it easy. 

"If there's inflammation in the heart muscle and there's exertion like that, that then increases the likelihood of life threatening arrhythmia that can just cause the heart to stop," Ladage said.

Blake is also wearing a Holter Monitor for 30 days. It monitors his heart's rhythm and will alert him if it should fall into a dangerous zone.

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