Coxsackie virus heart disease: 15 years after

Eur Heart J. 1988 Dec;9(12):1303-7. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.eurheartj.a062447.


From 1969 to 1973, 68 patients were admitted to the 4th Division of Medicine of the Brescia Civil Hospital with the diagnosis of viral myocarditis. The patients were divided into two groups according to the results of the Coxsackie virus complement fixing antibodies test: Group 1 (42 patients) with a fourfold or greater rising antibody titre; Group 2 (26 patients) with a negative serum test. Both groups were examined after a follow-up period of 15 years. Ten patients from Group 1 died. The diagnoses were chronic myocarditis (three cases); chronic cardiomyopathy-pulmonary embolism (one case); chronic cardiomyopathy-liver cirrhosis (one case); dilated cardiomyopathy-sudden death (two cases); congestive cardiomyopathy (three cases). No Group 2 patients died. The 15-year mortality rate of Group 1 was significantly higher than that of Group 2 (Fisher Test: p less than 0.005). In conclusion, the natural history of Coxsackie virus heart disease is characterized by two possibilities: a complete recovery from a clinical point of view, in some cases with only minor T wave abnormalities, or evolution into a chronic disease (dilated cardiomyopathy) having a high mortality rate within 10 years of the onset of the acute disease.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / etiology*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / mortality
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Myocarditis / etiology*