Harvard Heart Letter

Heart failure caused by an infection

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An rare type of heart failure known as viral cardiomyopathy is triggered by a viral infection.

Most people with heart failure can trace it to long-standing cardiac risks. An unlucky few have a virus to blame.

A hundred people walk into a room and one walks out with a heart infection. This sounds like the setup to a bad joke, but it is an accurate description of how viral cardiomyopathy strikes. Unlike heart muscle weakness brought on by years of stress to the cardiovascular system, viral cardiomyopathy is a chance disease that blossoms from a routine cold virus or other infection.

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