Cardiology. 2021 Mar 31:1-11. doi: 10.1159/000514206. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Neglected tropical diseases are a group of communicable diseases that occur in tropical and subtropical conditions and are closely related to poverty and inadequate sanitation conditions. Among these entities, chikungunya remains one of the most widely spread diseases. Although the main symptoms are related to a febrile syndrome, cardiovascular (CV) involvement has been reported, with short- and long-term implications. As part of the "Neglected Tropical Diseases and other Infectious Diseases involving the Heart" (NET-Heart) Project, the aim of this review is to compile all the information available regarding CV involvement of this disease, to help healthcare providers gain knowledge in this field, and contribute to improving early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies.
METHODS: We adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement in conducting and reporting this systematic review. The search was conducted using MEDLINE/PubMed, SciELO, and LILACS databases to identify any relevant studies or reviews detailing an association between chikungunya and cardiac involvement published from January 1972 to May 31, 2020.
RESULTS: Despite its mechanism not being fully understood, CV involvement has been described as the most frequent atypical presentation of chikungunya (54.2%). Myocarditis is the most prevalent CV complication. Different rhythm disturbances have been reported in 52% of cases, whereas heart failure was reported in 15% of cases, pericarditis in 5%, and acute myocardial infarction in 2%. Overall estimated CV mortality is 10%, although in patients with other comorbidities, it may increase up to 20%. In the proper clinical setting, the presence of fever, polyarthralgia, and new-onset arrhythmia suggests chikungunya virus-related myocarditis.
CONCLUSION: Although most cases are rarely fatal, CV involvement in chikungunya infection remains the most frequent atypical presentation of this disease and may have severe manifestations. Timely diagnosis and appropriate management are necessary to improve patient outcomes.