Even after an apparent ‘full recovery’ from COVID, this 20-year-old student experienced heart failure and nearly died

Madeline Neville tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms. Then the virus reemerged, leading to heart failure. Credit: Alejandro Alvarez
Madeline Neville tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms. Then the virus reemerged, leading to heart failure. Credit: Alejandro Alvarez

Maddie Neville contracted COVID-19 in October while living in an apartment off-campus near Temple University. She developed only mild symptoms — some coughing, plus she couldn’t smell or taste anything.

After quarantining and feeling back to her usual healthy self, Neville traveled home to Gouldsboro, in Monroe County, for Thanksgiving, the coronavirus seeming a thing of the past.

But while there, Neville found herself gasping for breath and gripped by intense chest pain. She had tested negative for COVID-19 before returning home, so she assumed the symptoms were unrelated. After a trip to an urgent care center and two hospitals, her condition worsened.

“My limbs started to tingle and I passed out,” Neville said. “I woke up and there were 16 doctors and nurses standing around me screaming.”

Related article:  Myocarditis and potential heart damage caused by COVID may be biggest challenge to resuscitating college sports

“They did a test on my heart and found myocarditis,” which is an inflammation of the heart muscle.

“My heart was functioning at 11% and that was enough for them to call it congestive heart failure,” she said.

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“I’m a 20-year-old who still needs help in the shower and my mom has to brush my hair,” she said. “This could be something I live with for a long time. It’s too early to tell if I’m going to have a lifelong issue with this. So it’s definitely scary.”

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