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J Med. 1995;26(3-4):153-62.

Elevation of ALT to AST ratio in patients with enteroviral myocarditis.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Gunma University School of Medicine, Maebashi, Japan.


Enteroviral myocarditis is often a relatively benign condition in adults. Physicians, therefore, may not always record detailed clinical and laboratory data in such patients. As such, they may not recognize viral involvement in organs beyond the heart. The purpose of this study was to examine the hepatic involvement of enteroviral peri-myocarditis and to compare the other diseases with congestive heart failure. We analyzed 18 patients (ages 15-64) who were diagnosed as having enteroviral myocarditis (n = 16) or pericarditis (n = 2). Serology was positive for coxsackie viruses in 11 patients and echoviruses in six patients. A diagnosis of hepatic involvement was made by the following laboratory data: rising levels of alanine amino transferase (ALT), aspartate amino transferase (AST) and exceeded serum ALT compared with AST levels. A ratio of ALT/AST more than 1.0 was greatly frequent in patients with peri-myocarditis (72%; 13/18) compared with acute myocardial infarction (0%; 0/10) and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (3%; 3/10). In summary, hepatic involvement in the setting of acute enteroviral peri-myocarditis may be considerably more common in adults than previously suspected. The recognition of hepatic involvement in association with enteroviral peri-myocarditis may allow improvement of diagnostic sensitivity and alter approaches to treatments of acute viral myocarditis.

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