Detection of enterovirus RNA in myocardial biopsies from patients with myocarditis and cardiomyopathy using gene amplification by polymerase chain reaction.
Recent molecular studies have suggested that viral myocarditis frequently underlies human congestive cardiomyopathy; however, only moderately sensitive and specific techniques were used. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) gene amplification is a sensitive, specific technique ideally suited for the diagnosis of viral disease in small tissue samples where low copy numbers of the viral genome may be present. Using PCR and high stringency condition, we screened biopsies taken from 48 patients with clinically suspected myocarditis or dilated cardiomyopathy. Five patients demonstrated positive enteroviral signals by PCR; two of them had myocarditis by pathology, whereas the other three had changes consistent with cardiomyopathy. Four other patients had myocarditis diagnosed by pathology from 3 months to 1 year earlier but were now negative by both PCR and pathology. Both pathology and PCR were negative for active myocarditis in all other patients. Ventricular samples taken from left ventricular myectomy in four additional patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, normal human ventricle samples, and uninfected monkey kidney cells were also negative by PCR. This study supports a link between viral infection and dilated cardiomyopathy in some patients. PCR gene amplification provides a new diagnostic approach to patients with suspected myocarditis.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association