Does monkeypox lead to heart problems? Know what experts say

A new case study has increased interest in whether there is a connection between monkeypox and heart problems.
Monkeypox symptoms
Know what a new study has to say on monkeypox and heart inflammation. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Radhika Bhirani Published: 8 Sep 2022, 18:00 pm IST
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As monkeypox cases continue to emerge across the world, medical experts are getting to assess different aspects of its impact. While so far, common monkeypox symptoms are known to include blisters, rashes and fever, a recent case study indicates that there may be a link between monkeypox and heart problems.

Case study on monkeypox and heart inflammation

According to a case study published in the Journals of the American College of Cardiology, a 31-year-old man afflicted by monkeypox, developed acute myocarditis days after the eruption of skin rashes. The reason was found to be inflammation of the heart muscles.

The case study deduced cardiac involvement as a potential complication associated with monkeypox. In severe cases, this could be fatal, but the concerned patient recovered fully.

Also read: Do you have monkeypox or is it just a rash?

monkeypox symptoms
Monkeypox can cause rashes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a part of the same family as the virus that causes smallpox, which causes a pimple or blister-like rash on the hands, feet, face, genitals and other parts of the body.

What is the link between monkeypox and heart problems

Health Shots reached out to medical experts to understand the connection.

Dr Ankita Baidya, Consultant – Infectious Disease, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, points out that the reported case was a “rare clinical scenario”.

“As per reports, the patient was a special case since he recently covered from Covid-19 and was on pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV infection. But yes, viral myocarditis is not new. In fact, chickenpox can also cause myocarditis in complicated cases. Similarly, monkeypox can also cause myocarditis in the form of viral myocarditis,” Dr Baidya tells Health Shots.

Patients may present with severe tachycardia, but it is not very common. Therefore, concerns that monkeypox infection can cause myocarditis are there. However, they aren’t too serious, considering the actual number of people who get infected by monkeypox infection, and the patients who actually suffer myocarditis, adds Dr Baidya.

heart inflammation
Side effects of monkeypox may rarely include heart issues, say experts. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, is typically caused by a viral infection.

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Dr Prateek Chaudhary, Consultant, Cardiologist, Asian Hospital, says myocarditis was previously associated with smallpox infection, a more aggressive virus.

“By extrapolation, the monkeypox virus could have tropism for myocardium tissue or cause immune-mediated injury to the heart. As there are only a few cases reported worldwide, it is quite early to say the frequency and severity of cardiac affection in these patient. We need to have a deeper understanding of the disease before coming to any conclusion,” Chaudhary tells Health Shots.

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About the Author

Radhika Bhirani is a journalist with close to 15 years of experience in the Indian media industry. After writing extensively on health, lifestyle and entertainment, she leads the English content team at Health Shots. She has a special interest in writing on mental health and wellness. ...Read More

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