Friday, March 10, 2017

Zika virus may be linked to heart complications

Dr. Karina Gonzalez Carta from Mayo Clinic has studied 9 patients with heart symptoms who were aged 30 to 64 for six months at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Caracas, Venezuela.  These individuals had shortness of breath, palpitations, and shortness of breath approximately 10 days after the onset of other Zika symptoms. Lab tests confirmed Zika infection in all 9 cases, and only one had a history of prior heart problems (high blood pressure, which was controlled by medications at the time of the study). Eight out of nine study participants developed a malignant arrhythmia and six out of nine developed heart failure.

It is not unusual for ARBO-viruses to cause cardiac problems. Previous reports have indicated that West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, dengue virus, and chikungunya virus are associated with cardiac abnormalities. However, Carta reports that the severity of cardiac symptoms in Zika patients is surprising.

It is important to note that there is no definitive causal relationship between Zika virus and the aforementioned cardiac complications. Further research with larger sample sizes are needed before a causal link can be supported.

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