Return to work in heart failure patients with suspected viral myocarditis

SAGE Open Med. 2017 Dec 12;5:2050312117744978. doi: 10.1177/2050312117744978. eCollection 2017.


Background: Endomyocardial biopsy is considered as the gold standard in patients with suspected myocarditis. We aimed to evaluate the impact of bioptic findings on prediction of successful return to work.

Methods: In 1153 patients (48.9 ± 12.4 years, 66.2% male), who were hospitalized due to symptoms of left heart failure between 2005 and 2012, an endomyocardial biopsy was performed. Routine clinical and laboratory data, sociodemographic parameters, and noninvasive and invasive cardiac variables including endomyocardial biopsy were registered. Data were linked with return to work data from the German statutory pension insurance program and analyzed by Cox regression.

Results: A total of 220 patients had a complete data set of hospital and insurance information. Three quarters of patients were virus-positive (54.2% parvovirus B19, other or mixed infection 16.7%). Mean invasive left ventricular ejection fraction was 47.1% ± 18.6% (left ventricular ejection fraction <45% in 46.3%). Return to work was achieved after a mean interval of 168.8 ± 347.7 days in 220 patients (after 6, 12, and 24 months in 61.3%, 72.2%, and 76.4%). In multivariate regression analysis, only age (per 10 years, hazard ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-1.46; p = 0.001) and left ventricular ejection fraction (per 5% increase, hazard ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.12; p = 0.002) were associated with increased, elevated work intensity (heavy vs light, congestive heart failure, 0.58; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.99; p < 0.049) with decreased probability of return to work. None of the endomyocardial biopsy-derived parameters was significantly associated with return to work in the total group as well as in the subgroup of patients with biopsy-proven myocarditis.

Conclusion: Added to established predictors, bioptic data demonstrated no additional impact for return to work probability. Thus, socio-medical evaluation of patients with suspected myocarditis furthermore remains an individually oriented process based primarily on clinical and functional parameters.

Keywords: Return to work; endomyocardial biopsy; myocarditis; prediction; rehabilitation.