A 13-year-old girl is in critical condition at Texas Children’s Hospital a week after testing positive for COVID-19 and going into cardiac arrest.
Alina Valenzuela, 13, has a previously undetected condition called myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, according to a GoFundMe page set up by a family member, Miriam Tervino. COVID-19 complications affected Alina’s heart and caused the cardiac arrest on Jan. 11, Trevino wrote on the fundraising page. She was placed on an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine before being transferred from a hospital near her home in Pearsall to Texas Children’s on Jan. 15.
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On Jan. 16, Trevino posted an update which said Alina underwent heart surgery.
“We know Alina is a fighter even after she went into cardiac arrest she refused to give up and came back to us. Alina’s will to live and to be with her family is strong,” the post reads. “Although she is very sick and has a long road ahead of her, we have faith and believe in the power of God and the power of prayer.”
Pediatricians and children’s hospitals have reported an uptick in young, recovered COVID-19 patients with lingering heart problems. In December, the American Academy of Pediatrics instructed children and adolescents who want to return to sports after infection with the coronavirus be cleared by a doctor for heart risks.
Symptoms can include dizziness, chest pains, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, fatigue.
As of Tuesday evening, Alina’s condition is listed as critical. So far, the fundraising page has raised more than $25,000 to help the family pay for her medical bills.
Todd Ackerman contributed to this report.