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Infection with dengue virus results in a wide range of clinical manifestations from dengue fever (DF), a self-limited febrile illness, to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which is characterized by plasma leakage and bleeding tendency. Although cardiac involvement has been reported in dengue, the incidence and the extent of cardiac involvement are not well defined.

Methods and Principal Findings:

We characterized the incidence and changes in cardiac function in a prospective in-patient cohort of suspected dengue cases by serial echocardiography. Plasma leakage was detected by serial chest and abdominal ultrasonography. Daily cardiac troponin-T levels were measured. One hundred and eighty one dengue cases were enrolled. On the day of enrollment, dengue cases that already developed plasma leakage had lower cardiac index (2695 (127) vs 3188 (75) (L/min/m2), p = .003) and higher left ventricular myocardial performance index (.413 (.021) vs .328 (.026), p = .021) and systemic vascular resistance (2478 (184) vs 1820 (133) (dynes·s/cm5), p = .005) compared to those without plasma leakage. Early diastolic wall motion of the left ventricle was decreased in dengue cases with plasma leakage compared to those without. Decreased left ventricular wall motility was more common in dengue patients compared to non-dengue cases particularly in cases with plasma leakage. Differences in cardiac function between DF and DHF were most pronounced around the time of plasma leakage. Cardiac dysfunction was transient and did not require treatment. Transient elevated troponin-T levels were more common in DHF cases compared to DF (14.5% vs 5%, p = 0.028).


Transient left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction was common in children hospitalized with dengue and related to severity of plasma leakage. The functional abnormality spontaneously resolved without specific treatment. Cardiac structural changes including myocarditis were uncommon.

Author Summary:

Dengue is a viral infection with a wide range of symptoms from a self-limiting fever called dengue fever (DF) to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which is characterized by leaky blood vessels and bleeding that can lead to shock in severe cases. Abnormal heart function has been reported but the frequencies and the progression of heart involvement are not well defined. In this study children with dengue had serial evaluation of their heart function during the course of the illness. Patients with DHF had comparatively low blood volume at the time of fever resolution and had decreased blood flow into the left lower heart chamber compared to DF cases. Relaxation and contraction of the left side of the heart were also relatively decreased in DHF. These abnormalities may contribute to the clinical response and complications of fluid replacement in dengue.

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Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication