Children have been found with damaged hearts several months after receiving Covid vaccines, an extended new study shows.
Researchers followed a group of 40 patients aged 12 to 18 for up to one year after the children were diagnosed with myocarditis.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium) that can reduce the ability to pump blood, according to Mayo Clinic.
The inflammation can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Severe myocarditis weakens the heart so that the rest of the body doesn’t get enough blood.
Clots can form in the heart, leading to a stroke, heart attack, and possibly death.
Myocarditis is a known side effect of Covid shots, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new study has found that some children who experienced heart inflammation after Covid vaccinations had scarring on their hearts several months later.
Researchers monitored the group of vaxxed children who suffered heart inflammation after they had received an mRNA shot from Pfizer or Moderna.
They conducted a series of tests, including echocardiograms.
Cardiac MRIs were performed on 39 of the 40 patients.
In the group of 39 kids who were imaged, 26 showed abnormal results.
Of those 26, 19 had late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) or signs of scarring on their hearts.
The patients with abnormal results returned for follow-up cardiac MRIs at least five months after the initial tests.
15 of those patients, or 58 percent, had residual LGE.
The one patient without an initial scan also had mild late gadolinium enhancement when scanned during a follow-up visit.
The study’s researchers were led by Dr. Yiu-fai Cheung from Hong Kong Children’s Hospital.
“Persistence of LGE in a significant subset of patients with up to 1 year of follow-up was observed,” Dr. Cheung and the other researchers wrote in their report.
They said the implications of the persistence remain unclear but that given it’s an indicator of subclinical heart dysfunction and scarring, “there exists a potential long-term effect on exercise capacity and cardiac functional reserve during stress.”
The authors reported no funding or disclosures.
Dr. Peter McCullough, a leading American cardiologist and president of the McCullough Foundation, said the new data is consistent with what cardiologists are seeing in clinical practice.
“Serious cases of COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis are not resolved by cardiac MRI at one year of follow-up in the majority of cases,” Dr. McCullough, who wasn’t involved in the research, said in response to the study.
“At some point, we must assume that late gadolinium enhancement represents a scar or permanent damage.
“COVID-19 vaccines should be pulled from the market immediately until further notice.
“Large-scale research programs should be commissioned immediately on subclinical and clinical COVID-19 vaccine-induced myocarditis with initial aims at risk stratification and mitigation for cardiac arrest.”
Dr. Anish Koka, another American cardiologist who wasn’t involved in the study, said the persistent LGE signifies a scar that replaced the initially inflamed heart muscle.
“The good news is that the amount of scar is small,” Dr. Koka wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The bad news is that there is scar.”
Just reading this study on follow up of 40 kids with vaccine myocarditis.
LV Ejection fraction is normal at follow up in all patients. ( 2 had low normal ejection fractions)
RV Ejection fraction is normal as well.
Analysis of regional wall strain ( a relatively newer… pic.twitter.com/0xXFqMqhJG
— Anish Koka, MD (@anish_koka) August 4, 2023
Koka said the level of scarring indicates there likely wouldn’t be a long-term impact but that even small levels of scarring could be a foundation for future arrhythmias, with exercise serving as a trigger.
“All these kids (even those without scar) would need exercise stress tests at 6 months to attempt to prognosticate this,” Dr. Koka said.
Pfizer and Moderna have yet to respond to the study on myocarditis.
Myocarditis is a known side effect of both companies’ Covid shots.
Myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination was first detected in early 2021.
Since then, an increasing number of studies have undercut claims from officials in the United States that heart inflammation is mild and resolves without treatment.
A study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published in 2022, reported that among patients with follow-up cardiac MRIs, 54 percent had at least one abnormal finding, such as scarring.
The study relied on surveys from healthcare providers who examined the patients.
The providers later told the CDC that five to 13 months after the initial diagnosis, 14 percent of patients still weren’t cleared for all physical activity and that multiple patients still had abnormal cardiac MRI findings.
And in a separate set of surveys, many patients reported experiencing one or more symptoms beyond one year.
Also in 2022, Rhode Island doctors reported that 8 out of 9 patients who were scanned a median of 94 days after initial diagnosis had persistent LGE.
U.S. researchers also reported in 2023 that 3 out of 7 patients who were imaged a median of 107 days after diagnosis had persistent LGE.
Deaths from myocarditis after vaccination have been confirmed in a number of countries, including South Korea, the United States, and Germany.
In June, South Korean researchers reported that vaccine-induced myocarditis caused eight sudden deaths, all in people aged 45 or younger.
Vaccine-induced myocarditis primarily affects young people, particularly young males.
Some critics say that all people, or certain people, don’t need a vaccine.
The risks far outweigh the benefits.
Nevertheless, the CDC still recommends that people of all ages receive Covid shots, despite the risk of heart inflammation and other side effects.