Enteroviral genome in native hearts may influence outcome of patients who undergo cardiac transplantation

Diagn Mol Pathol. 1999 Mar;8(1):39-46. doi: 10.1097/00019606-199903000-00007.


The Enterovirus may be the most common agent responsible for viral myocarditis and cardiomyopathy. Very little of the literature is available concerning the follow-up of patients who underwent transplantation with enteroviral positivity in native hearts. In the present study, 45 explanted hearts from patients who underwent orthotopic heart transplant at University of Padova were studied by reverse transcriptase (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR): 27 patients had dilated cardiomyopathy (DC), 12 had ischemic cardiopathy (IC), 2 had valvular disease (VD), 2 had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), 1 had giant cell myocarditis (GCM), and 1 had lymphocytic myocarditis (LM). Two sets of PCR primers from the highly conserved region of Enterovirus and Rhinovirus were used. Samples of both ventricles and septum were analyzed in every patients. The RT-PCR and nucleotide sequencing of amplicons were also performed on all post-transplantation follow-up biopsies in patients with Enterovirus positivity in the native heart. The viral genome was detectable in only 1 of 27 patients with DC (3%) and in 1 patient with LM. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the amplified product showed differences in nucleotide sequence of PCR samples compared with the sequence of the coxsackievirus B3 used in the current study. The patient with Enterovirus-positive DC showed a higher index of severe rejection (>3A) in the first 6 months, compared with the other patients tested. The patient with Enterovirus-positive LM died of disease recurrence 2 months after transplantation. The present study reveals a scarce presence of Enterovirus in the myocardium of patients with chronic myocardial disease. Because Enterovirus infection was predictive of a poor prognosis in these two patients, molecular studies are useful in excluding viral involvement in native hearts of transplanted patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Enterovirus / genetics*
  • Enterovirus / isolation & purification
  • Enterovirus Infections / genetics
  • Enterovirus Infections / virology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Graft Rejection
  • Heart Diseases / genetics
  • Heart Diseases / virology*
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Rhinovirus / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Viral