Enterovirus-induced Myocarditis: Hemodynamic Deterioration With Immunosuppressive Therapy and Successful Application of Interferon-Alpha

Clin Cardiol. 1994 Oct;17(10):563-5. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960171010.


In 1985, myocarditis was diagnosed by endomyocardial biopsy in a 53-year-old woman who was free of symptoms of heart insufficiency. Immunosuppressive therapy with azathioprine and prednisolone was prescribed as the patient had deteriorated to NYHA II heart insufficiency in March 1986. When application of immunosuppressive agents was terminated in 1987, serial endomyocardial biopsies revealed no signs of myocarditis, thus indicating effectiveness of immunosuppression. Nevertheless, the patient had worsened clinically and hemodynamically. At follow-up in 1991, the patient had progressed to dilated cardiomyopathy resulting in NYHA III heart insufficiency. Enterovirus infection of the heart was detected by in situ nucleic acid hybridization. In addition, retrospective serology indicated a significant increase of coxsackievirus B2 antibodies between 1985 and 1991. Investigational antiviral therapy with recombinant interferon alpha-2a was tolerated well and a favorable clinical, hemodynamic, and virologic response was observed. Thus, progression of biopsy-proven myocarditis to dilated cardiomyopathy may have been facilitated by immunosuppressive therapy in enterovirus infection. Antiviral therapy might be advantageous in patients with enterovirus myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / adverse effects*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / etiology
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / physiopathology
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / therapy*
  • Enterovirus B, Human*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / adverse effects*
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocarditis / physiopathology
  • Myocarditis / therapy*
  • Myocarditis / virology
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects*
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Prednisolone
  • Azathioprine