Advanced detection strategies for cardiotropic virus infection in a cohort study of heart failure patients Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The prevalence and contribution of cardiotropic viruses to various expressions of heart failure are increasing, yet primarily underappreciated and underreported due to variable clinical syndromes, a lack of consensus diagnostic standards and insufficient clinical laboratory tools. In this study, we developed an advanced methodology for identifying viruses across a spectrum of heart failure patients. We designed a custom tissue microarray from 78 patients with conditions commonly associated with virus-related heart failure, conditions where viral contribution is typically uncertain, or conditions for which the etiological agent remains suspect but elusive. Subsequently, we employed advanced, highly sensitive in situ hybridization to probe for common cardiotropic viruses: adenovirus 2, coxsackievirus B3, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C and E, influenza B and parvovirus B19. Viral RNA was detected in 46.4% (32/69) of heart failure patients, with 50% of virus-positive samples containing more than one virus. Adenovirus 2 was the most prevalent, detected in 27.5% (19/69) of heart failure patients, while in contrast to previous reports, parvovirus B19 was detected in only 4.3% (3/69). As anticipated, viruses were detected in 77.8% (7/9) of patients with viral myocarditis and 37.5% (6/16) with dilated cardiomyopathy. Additionally, viruses were detected in 50% of patients with coronary artery disease (3/6) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (2/4) and in 28.6% (2/7) of transplant rejection cases. We also report for the first time viral detection within a granulomatous lesion of cardiac sarcoidosis and in giant cell myocarditis, conditions for which etiological agents remain unknown. Our study has revealed a higher than anticipated prevalence of cardiotropic viruses within cardiac muscle tissue in a spectrum of heart failure conditions, including those not previously associated with a viral trigger or exacerbating role. Our work forges a path towards a deeper understanding of viruses in heart failure pathogenesis and opens possibilities for personalized patient therapeutic approaches.


  • Hanson, Paul J
  • Liu-Fei, Felicia
  • Minato, Taylor A
  • Hossain, Al Rohet
  • Rai, Harpreet
  • Chen, Victoria A
  • Ng, Coco
  • Ask, Kjetil
  • Hirota, Jeremy
  • McManus, Bruce M

publication date

  • January 2022