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.