Serological evidence for the association of Bartonella henselae infection with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy

Clin Cardiol. 2008 Oct;31(10):469-71. doi: 10.1002/clc.20269.


Background: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an important cause of sudden death in young adults. On the basis of histopathological findings its pathogenesis may involve both a genetic origin and an inflammatory process. Bartonella henselae may cause endomyocarditis and was detected in myocardium from a young male who succumbed to sudden cardiac death.

Hypothesis: We hypothesized that chronic infection with Bartonella henselae could contribute to the pathogenesis of ARVC.

Methods: We investigated sera from 49 patients with ARVC for IgG antibodies to Bartonella henselae. In this study, 58 Swiss blood donors tested by the same method served as controls.

Results: Six patients with ARVC (12%) had positive (>1:256) IgG titres in the immunofluorescence test with Bartonella henselae. In contrast, only 1 elevated titre was found in 58 controls (p < or = 0.05). Interestingly, all patients with increased titres had no familial occurrence of ARVC.

Conclusions: Further studies in larger patient cohorts seem justified to investigate a possible causal link between chronic Bartonella henselae and ARVC, in particular its sporadic (nonfamilial) form.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiomatosis, Bacillary / complications*
  • Angiomatosis, Bacillary / diagnosis
  • Angiomatosis, Bacillary / microbiology
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / immunology
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnosis
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / etiology*
  • Bartonella henselae / immunology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Ventriculography, First-Pass


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G