A study of 55 patients with heart disease suspected of being viral in origin was carried out a Medical College Hospital, Nagpur, over a period of 2 years. Virus studies as well as other routine tests were carried out on all patients. In 19 patients a virus aetiology of the heart disease was proved by isolation of one of the subtypes of Coxsackie B virus and/or on the basis of fourfold rise in neutralizing antibody titre in paired sera. Of these patients, 5 had acute myocarditis and 5 had acute myopericarditis; 3 had acute pericarditis; 3 had congestive cardiac failure of obscure aetiology; 2 had pleuropericarditis, and the remaining 1 developed post-partum heart failure with cardiogenic shock. All had electrocardiographic abnormalities. Thirteen had cardiomegaly; 1 had a right-sided pleural effusion and 2 had pericardial effusion. Virus could not be isolated from pericardial fluid or pleural fluid in these 3 patients. Follow-up studies up to 10 weeks from discharge revealed that 8 patients were clinically normal but 4 of these 8 had persisting ST-T wave changes, and in 4 the electrocardiogram had returned to normal. Of the remaining 11 patients, 3 had persistent chronic heart failure, 3 had vague symptoms of praecordial pain but no abnormal signs, and 5 patients were lost to follow-up.
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