Acute onset myopericarditis as unusual presentation of primary HIV infection

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A 30-year-old man was admitted to hospital after complaining of a retrosternal burning pain, radiating to the jugular region, and to both upper limbs. An electrocardiography examination showed a ST segment elevation involving the lower-lateral leads. A trans-thoracic ultrasonography showed findings compatible with an acute myopericarditis. All performed serological testings excluded other recent infections with cardiac tropism. Among screening tests, a peripheral lymphocyte subset analysis was performed and an inversion of the CD4/CD8 ratio was found. Therefore, HIV testing was performed and proved positive for HIV-1 antibodies. The discovery of a primary HIV infection with involvement of a vital organ led us to start HAART. On day 20, our patient underwent a right heart catheterization and endomyocardial biopsy. During the following days, the clinical conditions of our patient improved, and a further heart ultrasonography documented a mild pericardial thickening as a result of the recent myopericarditis. Also the evolving changes of ECG were compatible with a benign evolution of myopericarditis. The histopathologic studies revealed a mild fibrosis of the myocardial right ventricular tissue, and inflammatory findings compatible with a recent myocarditis. At the real-time PCR analysis on bioptic sample, only HHV6 DNA and HIV-DNA were reactive. An immunofluorescence staining was performed to highlight the HIV p24 protein and a positive signal was detected in myocardial tissue. Considering the low avidity level of the anti-HIV IgG antibodies and the positivity of HIV-DNA in the endomyocardial tissue, we believe that the clinical manifestation presented can be referred to the recent primary HIV-infection.

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