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When your immune system falls out with your heart: an important lesson on antisynthetase myocarditis
  1. Miroslawa Maria Gorecka1,
  2. Olga Tummon2,
  3. Yvonne Smyth1,
  4. Anthony O’Regan3
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, GUH, Galway, Ireland
  2. 2Respiratory and General Medicine, Galway University Hospitals, Galway, Ireland
  3. 3Respiratory and General Medicine, Galway University Hospital, Galway, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Miroslawa Maria Gorecka, miragorecka791{at}


A 57-year-old special Olympics athlete presented with subacute onset dyspnoea. Baseline investigations revealed troponin T rise and an abnormal ECG, which prompted coronary angiography. This was unremarkable, as was his transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). He re-presented 7 months later with progressive dyspnoea associated with significant weight loss, peripheral oedema and intermittent fevers. Examination revealed bilateral fine end-inspiratory crackles, peripheral oedema and fever. Investigations revealed elevated troponin T and raised inflammatory markers. ECG remained unchanged, whereas TTE revealed mild global impairment of left ventricular function. Chest radiography was suggestive of extensive interstitial lung disease, which was confirmed by high resolution CT. Presence of interstitial lung disease and myocarditis raised the suspicion of a systemic inflammatory condition. Subsequently, an autoimmune screen was positive for anti-Jo-1 antibody associated with antisynthetase syndrome. He was treated with high-dose steroids and rituximab with dramatic symptomatic improvement and immediate fall in troponin T level.

  • cardiovascular medicine
  • heart failure
  • interstitial lung disease
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  • Contributors MMG was responsible for identifying the case, literature review and write up of the manuscript. OT was responsible for collection of information. YS was responsible for review of the case from cardiology perspective. AO was responsible for managing the patient and final review of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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