Background: Clinical presentation of viral myocarditis can mimic acute coronary syndrome and making diagnosis of viral heart disease (VHD) may be challenging. The presence of coronary artery disease (CAD) does not always exclude VHD and these entities can coexist. However, the incidence of co-occurrence of CAD and VHD is not precisely known. Moreover, inflammatory process caused by viruses may result in atherosclerotic plaque destabilization.
Methods: The goal of this work is to summarize the current knowledge about co-occurrence of VHD and CAD. This article presents the importance of inflammatory process in both diseases and helps to understand pathophysiological mechanisms underlying their coexistence. It provides information about making differential diagnosis between these entities, including clinical presentation, noninvasive imaging features and findings in endomyocardial biopsy. Although currently there are no standard therapy strategies in coexistence of VHD and CAD, we present some remarkable aspects of treatment of patients, in whom VHD co-occurs with CAD.
Results: Viral heart disease may occur both in patients without and with atherosclerotic plaques in coronary arteries. Destabilization of atherosclerotic plaques in coronary arteries can be facilitated by inflammatory process. Increased inflammatory infiltrates in the coronary lesions of patients with VHD can lead to plaques’ instability and consequently trigger acute coronary syndrome.
Conclusion: In this article we attempted to present that co-occurrence of VHD and CAD may have therapeutic implications and as specific antiviral treatment is currently available, proper diagnosis and treatment can improve patient’s condition and prognosis.
Keywords: Viral infection, coronary artery disease, diagnosis, treatment, atherosclerotic plaque, endomyocardial biopsy.
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