Pennsylvania Student Said She Suffered Heart Failure at Age 20 After Mild Case of Covid

Photo courtesy of Madeline Neville

The Temple University student wrote on Facebook that her minor symptoms from Covid-19 were followed by "congestive heart failure" and hospitalization.

Posted: Dec 21, 2020 2:30 PM
Updated: Dec 21, 2020 2:30 PM

A Temple University student says she experienced a life-threatening heart condition weeks after recovering from a mild case of Covid-19. In a Facebook post from Dec. 8, Madeline Neville writes that she returned to her family home for the Thanksgiving holiday after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in late October.

"I was feeling completely normal and was able to put my COVID experience behind me," Neville wrote. "After all, I am a twenty year old girl in good health. I am the subset of the population that is supposed to be best equipped to able to handle COVID."

Neville, who lives in Philadelphia and is now 21, said that she tested negative before returning home. But soon after, she was hit by a second wave of symptoms.

"I experienced such intense chest pain, shortness of breath, and a slew of other horrible symptoms that came on suddenly and as a complete surprise," she wrote.

In her post, Neville said that she was eventually airlifted to a Philadelphia hospital where she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

"I have been hospitalized for the past nine days, where I struggled everyday to do even the most menial tasks like going to the bathroom and showering on my own, brushing my own teeth and hair, or even walking 10 steps," she wrote.

Neville said her doctors told her she had myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle that has been linked to Covid-19.

Recently, doctors have raised the question of whether athletes should be required to undergo additional screenings before returning to gameplay following recovery from the disease because of the risk of myocarditis.

"They were throwing around this term called 'multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children,'" Neville said.

The CDC has recently written that the Covid-linked syndrome has recently been observed in adults.

When she returned home from the hospital in early December, Neville's social media was abuzz with posts from people angry over new statewide Covid "mitigation efforts" in Pennsylvania announced by Gov. Tom Wolf, who had recently shared his own positive diagnosis.

"People were just saying some choice things, kind of discrediting the virus, saying that everybody who thinks that the states should be shut down are stupid," Neville said. "I had seen one too many that night."

So she decided to share her story publicly.

"I just felt like if I was sitting on my story, there was no point to me just keeping it to myself when I just felt like people needed to hear it," Neville said.

Speaking to NBC News over the telephone on Monday, Neville said her condition improves each day and that during her last cardiologist appointment she learned that her heart function is back to normal level.

"The only concern is because of how inflamed my heart was and still kind of is, they're worried about it scarring, so they put me on medications to prevent the scarring," she said.

When she first shared her story on Facebook in early December, Neville wrote that she hoped that her story might serve as a "reality check" for some of her peers who "take their health for granted."

"I know that I did," Neville wrote. "I believed that my youth and health would allow me to make it through any run in I had with the virus relatively unscathed."

"However, as someone who has been on the ass end of it, I wish I had chosen inconvenience over jeopardizing my health. I wish I had been more careful in my social interactions prior to contracting COVID, to save myself, my family, and my friends the pain of uncertainty regarding whether or not this illness would kill me."

"This has been my reality this week, and you can rest assured I simply could not care less which restaurants are open anymore. ... I am just thankful to be alive at home with my family," Neville wrote.

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