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AB1159 Virus-negative lymphocytic myocarditis: clinical and diagnostic features from a monocentric italian cohort
  1. S. Sartorelli,
  2. C. Campochiaro,
  3. G. De Luca,
  4. C. Candela,
  5. G. Cavalli,
  6. L. Dagna
  1. Unit of Rheumatology, Immunology, Allergy and Rare Diseases (UnIRAR), IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy


Background Virus-negative lymphocytic myocarditis (VNLM) is defined by endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) established histological, immunological and immune-histochemical criteria; it may occur as a distinct disease or in the context of systemic autoimmune or inflammatory disorders.

Objectives To describe the demographic, clinical, histological and immune-histochemical features of VNLM from a monocentric Italian cohort.

Methods 42 patients (mean age 45.57±14.9 years; male to female ratio 1:1) were diagnosed with EMB-proven VNLM at our Centre from January 2015 to December 2017. In all patients, comprehensive demographic, clinical and histological data were collected.

Results The most common initial clinical feature was chest pain (40.5%), followed by palpitations (26.2%) and syncope (23.8%). Aborted sudden cardiac death (SCD) was the first manifestation in 3 cases, while arrhythmias were overall present in 47.6% of patients, being life-threatening in 10 of them. Interestingly, 4 patients had only few constitutional symptoms and 2 patients were completely asymptomatic. The distribution of traditional cardiovascular risk factor reflected that of the general population, apart for a more common familiarity for SCD (31.7%) and for autoimmunity (31.7%). Serum levels of troponin T and NT-proBNP were increased in 40.5% and 30.9%, respectively. Both echocardiography and standard ECG were unremarkable in half of the patients, while nearly all patients (92.5%) had at least one Lake-Louise criterion at cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) evaluation. The most common CMR finding was delayed enhancement in 90% of cases, while T2-oedema was found in 21 patients (50%). Left ventricular ejection fraction was reduced in 50% of patients; a concomitant pericardial effusion was detected in 22.5% of cases. Abnormalities on 24h-ECG-Holter tape were overall detectable in 20 patients (47.6%), with ventricular ectopic beats and non-sustained ventricular tachycardia being the most common findings.

Despite positivity for ANA in 42.8% patients, only 4 patients could be diagnosed with a systemic autoimmune disease. Anti-heart antibodies (AHA) and anti-intercalated disks antibodies (AIDA) were positive in 21 patients (50%) and 12 (28.6%) patients, respectively.

On EMB, myocarditis was classified as active in 23 cases (54.8%) and as chronic in 18 (42.3%), while 7 patients (16.7%) had evidence of both features. CD3 +T-lymphocytes>7/mm2 were detectable in 27 patients (64.3%), necrosis in 20 patients (47.6%), oedema in 28 patients (66.7%), while only 4 patients showed signs of vasculitis or thrombotic microangiopathy. At time of diagnosis, myocardial fibrosis was evident in 73.8% of EMBs and dilated cardiomyopathy in 6 patients (14.3%). All patients were treated with steroids and azathioprine as first line therapy, and 17 patients (40.5%) were initially referred for device implantation.

Conclusions VNLM is an overlooked disease characterised by a broad spectrum of clinical features and peculiar immune-mediated hallmarks. The early recognition of myocarditis, allowing a prompt therapeutic intervention, should be a major goal for rheumatologists.

Disclosure of Interest S. Sartorelli: None declared, C. Campochiaro: None declared, G. De Luca: None declared, C. Candela: None declared, G. Cavalli: None declared, L. Dagna Grant/research support from: The Unit has received unrestricted educational grants from Abbvie, BMS, Celgene, Mundipharma, Novartis, MSD, Pfizer, Roche, and SOBI.

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