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A Young Woman With Viral Myocarditis

Educational Objective
Based on this clinical scenario and the accompanying image, understand how to arrive at a correct diagnosis.
1 Credit CME

A woman in her mid-20s presented with cardiogenic shock. On presentation, she was afebrile with cool extremities; her blood pressure was 75/51 mm Hg, heart rate was 147 beats per minute, respiratory rate was 20 breaths per minute, and oxygen saturation was 99% on mechanical ventilation. Her chest examination revealed bilateral coarse breath sounds and distant heart sounds. Transthoracic echocardiogram revealed an ejection fraction of 10% with elevated filling pressures and no significant valvular abnormalities. Owing to hemodynamic instability, the patient was given venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) with the peripheral ventricular assist device (pVAD) Impella CP (Abiomed) and was administered high-dose intravenous corticosteroids. Endomyocardial biopsy showed lymphocytic viral myocarditis. There was significant hemodynamic improvement within 48 hours; transthoracic echocardiogram was obtained and showed impressive recovery of the left ventricular function to an ejection fraction of 45%. As a result, ECMO was decannulated after 72 hours. Left pVAD support was maintained alone for another 24 hours. In the interim, her vitals remained unchanged, but the patient developed hematuria and laboratory parameters suggestive of hemolysis. Chest radiography showed pulmonary edema, and low-flow alarms sounded on the device console. Transthoracic echocardiogram showed severe mitral regurgitation (MR), and a transesophageal echocardiogram was performed to evaluate pVAD positioning (Figure and Video).

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Iatrogenic mitral regurgitation

B. Consult cardiovascular surgery to discuss mitral valve surgery

The key to the correct diagnosis in this patient was the transesophageal echocardiogram revealing a new, severe, eccentric, posteriorly directed jet of MR and flail segment of the A3 anterior aortic leaflet (Figure). Recognition of the pVAD as a potential cause of iatrogenic MR is important, as acute severe MR requires prompt early surgical intervention.

Frequent complications after pVAD placement include thrombus formation, tamponade, right ventricular failure, and hypovolemia. To our knowledge, there have been very few case reports of iatrogenic MR in patients with pVAD.1,2 Possible mechanisms of injury are damage to the mitral valve apparatus during the insertion of pVAD or subsequent migration of the device. In fulminant myocarditis, it is hypothesized that the myocardial tissue is inflamed and friable, making it more susceptible to injury.3 In this patient, the pVAD was placed emergently when the patient was hemodynamically unstable. While receiving ECMO support, the complete hemodynamic effect of MR is usually not apparent owing to the altered physiology. Severe MR and flail leaflet were only apparent after ECMO decannulation.

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Article Information

Published Online: February 23, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2021.6010

Correction: This article was corrected on April 13, 2022, to correct the figure legend.

Corresponding Author: Asad J. Torabi, MD, Division of Cardiology, Krannert Institute of Cardiology at Indiana University School of Medicine, 1800 N Capital Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (ajtorabi@iupui.edu).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Contributions: We thank Jeffrey E. Everett, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, for his assistance in reviewing and editing the manuscript; he did not receive financial compensation for this contribution.

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Pivato  CA , Ferrante  G , Briani  M , Sanz Sanchez  J , Reimers  B , Pagnotta  P .  Mitraclip treatment for severe mitral regurgitation due to chordae rupture following Impella CP support in a patient with severe aortic stenosis.   Cardiovasc Revasc Med. 2021;28S:118-120.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Eastaugh  LJ , Thiagarajan  RR , Darst  JR , McElhinney  DB , Lock  JE , Marshall  AC .  Percutaneous left atrial decompression in patients supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for cardiac disease.   Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2015;16(1):59-65. doi:10.1097/PCC.0000000000000276PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
AMA CME Accreditation Information

Credit Designation Statement: The American Medical Association designates this Journal-based CME activity activity for a maximum of 1.00  AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to:

  • 1.00 Medical Knowledge MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program;;
  • 1.00 Self-Assessment points in the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery’s (ABOHNS) Continuing Certification program;
  • 1.00 MOC points in the American Board of Pediatrics’ (ABP) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program;
  • 1.00 Lifelong Learning points in the American Board of Pathology’s (ABPath) Continuing Certification program; and
  • 1.00 CME points in the American Board of Surgery’s (ABS) Continuing Certification program

It is the CME activity provider's responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting MOC credit.

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