Viral Cardiomyopathy


Patients with viral cardiomyopathy may present viral symptoms, while others present heart failure as an initial symptom. 

  • Viral symptoms may precede any cardiac symptoms, which include:
    • Fevers
    • Flu-like symptoms (myalgias)
    • Gastrointestinal disorders
    • Sore throat or other respiratory infections
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Syncope (passing out)

Some patients have shortness of breath and leg swelling as their initial symptoms rather than those listed above.

The following help to identify viral cardiomyopathy:

  • Electrocardiogram
    • This is usually abnormal; however, it cannot diagnose viral myocarditis/cardiomyopathy alone.
  • Lab work
    • Cardiac biomarkers
    • Inflammatory markers
    • Respiratory swab for viral infections
    • Blood work for viruses (these are rarely informative)
  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Endomyocardial Biopsy
    • Invasive procedure to take a biopsy of the heart muscle
    • This is reserved for special circumstances due to risks associated with the procedure