Background Transplantation has become a lifesaving procedure for children with end-stage heart failure. The long-term outcome for children who undergo transplantation has been of considerable interest, but the causes of graft failure and death are largely unknown, and the role of pre-transplant viral infection is unclear. Methods Myocardial samples from 80 explanted hearts from children with end-stage heart disease caused by congenital heart disease (CHD), cardiomyopathy, or chronic rejection were analyzed using polymerase chain reaction and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for cardiotropic viruses using virus-specific primers. We used immunohistochemical analysis of cytoskeletal proteins to evaluate myocyte architecture. Results We identified parvoviral genomes in 6 patients (3 with CHD and 3 with cardiomyopathy). We detected no other viruses. Immunohistochemistry showed normal staining for key components of the cytoskeleton/sarcolemma, sarcomere, and nuclear membrane in the 6 virus-positive samples. The clinical outcome of these children was worse (4 long-term survivors, but 2 deaths) than for individuals without the genome. Conclusions Detecting viruses within the myocardium at the point of end-stage heart failure is not common, regardless of the primary pathology. However, the presence of viruses may result in poor outcome for the patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine