Lyme disease: a case report of a 17-yeardai-old male with fatal Lyme carditis

Esther C. Yoon, Eric Vail, George Kleinman, Patrick A. Lento, Simon Li, Guiqing Wang, Ronald Limberger, John T. Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Lyme disease is a systemic infection commonly found in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central regions of the United States. Of the many systemic manifestations of Lyme disease, cardiac involvement is uncommon and rarely causes mortality. We describe a case of a 17-year-old adolescent who died unexpectedly after a 3-week viral-like syndrome. Postmortem examination was remarkable for diffuse pancarditis characterized by extensive infiltrates of lymphocytes and focal interstitial fibrosis. In the cardiac tissue, Borrelia burgdorferi was identified via special stains, immunohistochemistry, and polymerase chain reaction. The findings support B. burgdorferi as the causative agent for his fulminant carditis and that the patient suffered fatal Lyme carditis. Usually, Lyme carditis is associated with conduction disturbances and is a treatable condition. Nevertheless, few cases of mortality have been reported in the literature. Here, we report a rare example of fatal Lyme carditis in an unsuspected patient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6835
Pages (from-to)317-321
Number of pages5
JournalCardiovascular Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Carditis
  • Heart block
  • Lyme carditis
  • Lyme disease
  • Myocarditis
  • Pediatric
  • Spirochetes
  • Ventricular tachycardia


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