An Unrecognized Rash Progressing to Lyme Carditis: Important Features and Recommendations Regarding Lyme Disease

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We present a case report of 46-year-old man with no medical history, who complained of extreme fatigue, near-syncope, and palpitations. He initially presented in complete heart block. A transvenous pacemaker was placed in the emergency department, and he was started empirically on Ceftriaxone for Lyme disease. He was admitted and over the course of the next few days, his rhythm regressed to Mobitz type I first-degree atrioventricular block and then to normal sinus rhythm. This case report highlights some important features regarding Lyme carditis, a rare presentation of early disseminated Lyme disease (seen in a few weeks to months after the initial tick bite). In 25%–30% of patients, the characteristic targetoid rash may not be seen, a likely culprit of the disease not being detected early and progressing to disseminated disease. The most common cardiac complaint of Lyme disease is palpitations, occurring in 6.6% of patients, which may not accurately reflect progression into disseminated Lyme disease because it is a nonspecific finding. Conduction abnormality, occurring in 1.8% of patients, is a more specific finding of Borrelia invading cardiac tissue. Finally, this case report highlights a recommendation that patients with confirmed Lyme disease or those presenting with cardiac abnormalities or symptoms who have an atypical profile for a cardiac event should be screened with a 12-lead electrocardiogram, Lyme serology, and be considered for antibiotic therapy with the possibility of temporary pacing.

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