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Baby left with lifelong heart condition after suffering Covid-linked syndrome

A BABY has been left with a lifelong heart condition after contracting an illness linked to coronovarius.

Little Leia Godwin, just 11-months-old, was first diagnosed with Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS)- similar to Kawasaki Disease – back in April.

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The tot was hospitalised for four weeks at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, Wales with the terrifying symptoms, which included a bright red rash all over her little body, shortness of breath and swollen arteries.

Now six months on, Leia's mum – Hannah, 36, said: "You would not think there is anything wrong with her. She is doing really well."

But little Leia, who has a twin, Thea, was left with multiple aneurysms in her heart.

The condition is charactersied by abnormal swelling in the artery wall of the heart and could cause a heart attack or heart disease in the future.

Hannah explained to Wales Online both Leia and her sister were scanned at birth due to pre-existing health conditions in the family.

Both twins were very healthy, although Thea had a hole in her heart.

Doctors concluded the aneurisms were a result of the PMIS, which Leia is thought to have contracted after getting coronavirus.

The condition means little Leia will be on blood-thinners her whole life, and may even need a heart transplant in the future.

What is paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS)?

PMIS is a new systemic inflammatory response to coronavirus that doctors believe can develop up to three weeks after Covid-19.

The rare condition is similar to Kawasaki disease, toxic shock syndrome and sepsis.

What are the symptoms?

In children and teenagers, a persistent fever, over 38.5C, which has gone on for more than three days.

Most children will also suffer respiratory problems and low blood pressure.

Other possible signs include rashes, conjunctivitis, swollen hands and feet, stomach ache, diarrhoea, vomiting, enlarged lymph nodes, fainting and confusion.

What are the risks?

PMIS appears to be relatively rare, experts believe. There have been between 75 and 100 cases in the UK. There have been five deaths worldwide, including a 14-year-old boy from London.

Most children affected are between the age of five and 16. None had any underlying conditions.

Is it linked to coronavirus?

Experts are carrying out research to try to understand more but they are confident PMIS could be related to Covid-19.

Dr Liz Whittaker, a paediatrician who has treated some of the cases in London, said that most of the children had tested negative for Covid-19 at the time they arrived at hospital.

But all of them had positive antibodies to the virus, which suggests they were infected at some point in the previous few weeks.

Hannah said the biggest risk to the condition is any stress that could cause the aneurisms to grow, adding that Leia now wears a helmet to protect her from any bumps or stumbles that could put extra pressure on her heart.

She has been hospitalised twice since April as docs feared she could be suffering knock-on effects of the illness, but both times was thankfully okay.

Mum Hannah took Leia in after her eyes turned bloodshot and again after she bumped her head.

She said: "You need the peace of mind. If I saw the exact same symptoms in Thea I probably wouldn't worry as much but after what Leia went through I do."

What remains a mystery to the family is how the baby contracted Covid-19 in the first place.

Leia's dad, Simon, has a heart condition so the family had been shielding since the beginning of the pandemic.

Anti-body tests also showed neither Hannah or her other daughter appeared to have contracted the virus, but Leia had.

Hannah added the family did not "get off lightly".

The mum wants parents to be more aware of the illnesses affecting children, adding: "There's so much we don't know about.

"I would never in a million years have thought of Kawasaki disease."

Hannah has now set up Babies' and Children's Hearts in Wales (BACHIW), in the hopes of raising awareness of Kawasaki disease, PMIS, and also to fundraise for Noah's Ark Hospital.

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