Randy Travis in Critical Condition: What is Viral Cardiomyopathy?

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The left ventricle is opened to show the thickened, dilated ventricles. Photo by CDC/Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.

In this image, the heart’s left ventricle is opened to show the thickened, dilated ventricles caused by cardiomyopathy. Photo by CDC/Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.

Viral Cardiomyopathy

A virus causes the type of cardiomyopathy that Randy Travis has contracted – hence the name, ‘viral cardiomyopathy,’ also known as myocarditis.

Viruses that cause myocarditis can include parvo B19, enteroviruses, adenoviruses, cytomegalovirus, and sometimes the Epstein-Barr virus, and influenza viruses.

According to an article entitled “Human Viral Cardiomyopathy,” a viral infection to the heart is relatively common, but generally occurs without any symptoms and the person recovers. However, the authors note that in rare cases in can lead to “substantial cardiac damage” that can result in cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.

Viral Cardiomyopathy Treatment

According to the American Heart Association, in some cases, such as patients with no symptoms, no treatment is necessary. However, in other cases where the cause of the disease is known, and the patient is experiencing symptoms, treatment can include medications, surgery, and implanted medical devices. These treatments can reduce symptoms and stop the disease from progressing.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in mild cases of viral cardiomyopathy the doctor may prescribe rest and medications to help fight off the infectionl in severe cases, surgery and heart transplant maybe necessary.

Randy Travis’ Viral Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy can be a serious and life-threatening disease in some cases, and if not properly treated. Treatment will depend on the cause of the disease, and as in Randy Travis’ case, hospitalization maybe necessary. Details of the popular country singer’s health status are thin on the ground; Decoded Science will watch for updates on his treatment and recovery.

Resources:

USA Today. Randy Travis in critical condition. (2013). Accessed July 9, 2013.

American Heart Association. What is cardiomyopathy in adults? (2012). Accessed July 9, 2013.

Maisch B, Ristic AD, Portig I, Pankuweit S. Human Viral Cardiomyopathy. (2003). Frontiers in Bioscience. Accessed July 9, 2013.

Mayo Clinic. Myocarditis. (2012). Accessed July 9, 2013.

Medline Plus. Cardiomyopathy. (2012). Accessed July 9, 2013.

 

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