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Parvovirus B19 Myocarditis Causes Significant Morbidity and Mortality in Children


Although parvovirus B19 (PVB19) currently is the most common cause of viral myocarditis, limited pediatric data exist. Whereas other viruses infect cardiomyocytes, PVB19 targets coronary endothelium, leading to myocardial ischemia and dysfunction. A retrospective review investigated patients with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-verified PVB19 myocarditis at Texas Children’s Hospital and Arkansas Children’s Hospital (January 2005 to August 2008). The primary end points of the study were transplant-free survival and circulatory collapse (death, mechanical support, or transplantation). For the 19 patients identified (age, 6 months to 15 years), the most common presenting symptoms were respiratory and gastrointestinal. At admission, all the patients demonstrated ventricular dysfunction requiring inotropic support (median ejection fraction, 24 %; median left ventricle end-diastolic diameter [LVEDD] z-score, 4.6). Whereas T-wave abnormalities were common, ST elevation was evident in five patients (two died and three required transplantation). Serum B-type natrietic peptide was elevated in all 12 patients tested (range, 348–8,058 pg/ml), and troponin I was high in 7 of 9 patients (range, 0.04–14.5 ng/ml). Of the 15 patients with circulatory collapse, nine received mechanical support, eight underwent successful transplantation, and five died. Only six patients (32 %) experienced transplant-free survival, and five patients had full recovery of function at discharge. In the transplant-free survival group, ST changes on presenting electrocardiography were less likely (p = 0.03), and the admission LVEDD z-score tended to be lower (3.3 vs 5.6; p = 0.08). In children, PVB19 myocarditis causes significant mortality and morbidity. Although mechanical intervention can support patients in the initial stage of decompensated heart failure, patients with PVB19 myocarditis often demonstrate persistent dysfunction requiring medical therapy and transplantation.

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Correspondence to Kimberly M. Molina.

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Molina, K.M., Garcia, X., Denfield, S.W. et al. Parvovirus B19 Myocarditis Causes Significant Morbidity and Mortality in Children. Pediatr Cardiol 34, 390–397 (2013).

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  • Heart failure
  • Myocarditis
  • Pediatrics
  • Transplantation