Country music star Randy Travis is listed in critical condition, two days after he was hospitalized with viral cardiomyopathy.
Viral cardiomyopathy is a disorder where a virus attacks the muscles of the heart, causing the heart to beat slower, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. In some cases, the heart can stop, it said.
“Viral cardiomyopathy can be caused by 30-plus different viruses, but it’s almost impossible to pinpoint which virus it is,” said Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist and internal medicine specialist in Washington. “Hospitals use viral cardiomyopathy as a ‘catch all’ diagnosis.”
Once a patient is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, the patient is variable, depending on the severity of the condition and available treatment options. Generally, the weakening of the heart will force the patient to make some permanent lifestyle changes.
Viral infections of the heart are not uncommon. Some infections even resolve on their own, especially in healthy individuals, and leave no lasting problems behind.
Some patients are more at risk for viral infections of the heart than others, and some viruses are more likely to lead to viral cardiomyopathy. People with active viral infections should seek treatment, as it may be possible to avoid complications like viral cardiomyopathy by providing aggressive and timely treatment for viruses.