Myocarditis - AIDS

A mononuclear cell infiltrate is present. There is myocyte destruction. In AIDS patients myocarditis may be caused by HIV or, because of immune deficiency, myocarditis may be secondary to other viral agents such as CMV, adenovirus, coxsackie, etc.

Myocarditis is seen frequently at autopsy in AIDS patients. It can be due to secondary viral illness in the immunocompromised AIDS patient but it can also be due to the HIV virus itself. The latter was originally only conjecture until the advent of PCR and FISH techniques. The presence of HIV in cardiac myocytes has been demonstrated by the use of FISH. Studies of the immunopathology of myocarditis in AIDS patients show that it is consistent with a cell-mediated injury to the myocytes and is similar to a subgroup of myocarditis in the non-HIV group.