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

March 21, 2015


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 2-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 PCR. The findings support Borrelia 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.

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  1. I find this story quite disturbing. Because of the lack of knowledge in our society on Lyme this boy died. If it was my son I would be devastated. I have suspected Lyme, but the test was inconclusive. I do not even have a doctor where I now live. I often have stabbing pains in my chest. I have been sick for 19 years with extreme fatigue and all the other Lyme symptoms. Only last year did I receive a clinical diagnosis of suspected Lyme, while living in B.C. Now I am in a small Manitoba town. I have no G.P. I certainly have no Lyme literate doc. I also have the MTHFR gene mutations. I understand what I need to do to begin to fix the methylation problems. There is so much to do to recover. I feel like I am grasping at straws. It is very lonely being this sick. To boot I am chemically sensitive and have been diagnosed with electrosensitivity. I really feel alone. I cannot work. I have no mental strength to seek assistance. I do not feel that I will be understood or helped. This illness is very debilitating.

  2. I wonder how ‘rare’ Lyme carditis death really is. How many people who die from a heart-attack are tested post mortem for Lyme?

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