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Is cardiomyopathy related to myocarditis?
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Is cardiomyopathy related to myocarditis?

Thank You for your imformative web site.

I have been diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy after passing out last December. After an echo I was told my EF was at 30%. I am now on full dose Correg and EF has improved to 35-40%.

My cardiologist tells me that my cardiomyopathy was from a virus at some point. I have had annual physicals and after looking through med. history, I developed left bundle branch block in 1994 and echo in 1996 showed EF of 49% and I was advised at that time that I had a slightly enlarged heart.

I am 47 years old and a career firefighter and due to this I have been out of work since January. After researching cardiomyopathy and myocarditis I have found articles explaining that most people that develop myocarditis don't realize it. One of the comments on your site was "Idiopathic myocarditis is a fancy way of saying inflammation of the heart with no underlying cause that can be found. It is believed to be the cause of a significant percentage of cases of dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. It is usually a diagnosis that is made in retrospect."

Under worker's comp rules in MN, firefighters that develop myocarditis are presumed to be work related. My feeling is that since I go on nearly 1000 medical and fire calls per year, that I most likely caught a virus at some point which devloped into idiopathic cardiomyopathy.

Is idiopathic cardiomyopathy really just the end result of myocarditis?

My cardiologist is waiting till July to make a decision and has really not given me any good facts about how I got this or if I will be improving any further. He has told me that all other causes of cardiomyopathy have been eliminated in my case. No family history, valve trouble, toxins or alcohol abuse in my case.

I have already changed many things in my lifestyle to improve this condition, but believe I will not be able to go back to my career of firefighter. I am not able to do as much physical work any longer and seem to be more tired than before the medications. I have been denied worker's comp since the diagnosis was idiopathic or no known cause.

Any help or direction you can give me is greatly appreciated. If I can somehow show that my condition is work related I will at least be able to take care of my family. Thank You again for your help and providing the opportunity to ask my questions.

Dave, Minnesota
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Dave,
I think you will have a hard time proving that the cardiomyopathy is due to myocarditis.  Have you had a heart cath to look at your coronary arteries?  If not this would probably be a good idea.  The single most common cause of cardiomyopathy in the US is coronary artery disease.  If there are no findings of coronary artery disease than percentage-wise the next largest catergory is myocarditis.  However, to prove that it was myocarditis in retrospect is difficult.  If it had been detected at the time of the infection then viral cultures or a biopsy may have helped establish the diagnosis but at this point there are not any tests that can be done.  Your doctor may be willing to say that the cardiomyopathy is most likely due to myocarditis but I don't know if that will be enough for the workers comp.  I hope this works out for you.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Ganny, there has been another post in this forum by a firefighter as well.  Can't remember too much about it but I remember he's in the same boat as you.  Try searching if you're interested.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Ganny:

Visit Jonsplace.org for great support and information on Cardiomyopathy. Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in March 2001.A TEE showed that she had dilated cardiomyopathy and a ejection factor of 30. She was put on Coreg and Prinivil and total disibility.InMay she had a stress testand after 5 min. they had to stop due to the chest pain.They followed it up 3 days laterwith a cardiac cath. and within 10 min.of this test they rushed her to emergency heart surgery. Double bypass for blocked coronary artery.
My daughter is   21 yrs. old It was as much a shock for me as it was to the cardiologist.She was sent home in 5 days and is recuperating slowly.
It was interesting to read that most of the cardiomyopathy are due to coronary artery disease.However it appears that she may of had it since birth.
How common is this? What's the youngest bypass case that you know of. My daughter appears to be the youngest thus far in our hospital.
Thank You for an interesting web site.      China
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Avatar_n_tn
I have apical hypertrothic cardiomyopathy, which started 16 yrs ago when I was 16 as myocarditis.  At first they thought it might have been caused by reacurring rheumatic fever(a streep infection), because I always had a sore throat and roving achey (achy) joints.  Then my sister, went into cardic arrest 37 times, they found that her heart was enlarged, it could have been from cocaine use.  The doctors now think that it could be inheirited, however we have 108 first cousins, and we are the only ones with it.  She had a dual chamber defibrillator implanted after the caric arrests, was not had a problem since, she smokes, drinks, and is still using.  I had a defibrillator implant in Jan of this year, and I have never felt worse in my life, I went into arrest 3 times during the surgery.  So now they doctors are redoing all of the tests to see if more damage was done (I've been in heart failure for 5 yrs), if my heart is worse, then it will be transplant time.  But please understand that I have had a very active life up until this year, I could run circles around anyone at work, and in time I will be back to normal.
AJ
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