Pediatric Specialists Treat Saltillo Teen for Rare Condition
Thirteen-year-old Drew Visentin of Saltillo recently gave his parents, Chris and Becca, quite a scare. On Monday, Jan. 18, Drew started running a fever and tested negative for flu and COVID-19. He was given a shot and prescribed an antibiotic. Then his father and brother both tested positive for flu, so Drew was prescribed Tamiflu along with them. After running a fever all week and requiring IV fluids for dehydration, Drew was tested again that Friday and this time diagnosed with mononucleosis, an infection with the Epstein-Barr virus.
“Through that weekend he wasn’t getting any better, and he had all the symptoms of mono,” says his mother, Becca. “On Tuesday, I took him to Med Serve, and his blood pressure was 70/32. He was tested again for flu, COVID-19 and strep, but all were still negative. Again, he got IV fluids because he was dehydrated.”
That Wednesday when Drew complained of his stomach hurting, his mother worried that it might be an enlarged spleen, which is a common complication of mono. She took him to NMMC’s Emergency Department, where more in-depth testing revealed COVID-19 antibodies, indicating that Drew had been infected with COVID-19 in the past but had been asymptomatic. Doctors diagnosed Drew with Kawasaki disease, which causes swelling in the walls of certain arteries throughout the body, especially the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.
“They told us that Kawasaki disease with COVID-19 is very rare,” Becca says. “It has a lot of the same symptoms as mono—bloodshot eyes, peeling lips, swollen lymph nodes, a rash and abdominal pain. By then his blood pressure was down to 50/20. His heart was enlarged, as were his small intestine and spleen. There was fluid around his heart, and they were worried about heart failure.” Drew was admitted to NMMC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where he was cared for by pediatric intensivists Dr. Jhoclay See and Dr. Lisa-Gaye Thomas-Messado, who work at NMMC thanks to a partnership between NMMC and Children’s of Mississippi, the pediatric arm of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Drew spent two nights in the PICU, where he received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy, before moving to the Pediatrics floor for a few more days. “Dr. See and Dr. Thomas were both amazing,” Becca says. Drew has follow-up appointments with pediatric cardiologist Dr. Kalyl Cable at the Children’s of Mississippi Specialty Clinic in Tupelo, as well as a pediatric hematologist and pediatric rheumatologist in Jackson. The Visentins are thankful for specialty pediatric care in Tupelo that has their son on the road to recovery.
Now that Drew is feeling better, his biggest concern is how soon he can start practicing with his baseball team at Guntown Middle School, where he is a seventh-grader.
After having COVID-19 with no symptoms, doctors diagnosed 13-year-old Drew Visentin of Saltillo with Kawasaki disease.