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Reversible cardiomyopathy caused by administration of interferon α


Background A 56-year-old man with normal cardiac function received treatment with interferon α-2b for malignant melanoma. Eight months after the initiation of therapy he developed fatigue and dyspnea on exertion. Two months later, he was admitted to hospital with ORTHOPNEA, worsening dyspnea and cough. Physical examination findings were consistent with congestive heart failure. Laboratory studies were notable for hypothyroidism. Echocardiography revealed severe, global left-ventricular dysfunction.

Investigations Echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, serum chemistries, coronary angiography, right-heart and left-heart catheterization and endomyocardial biopsy.

Diagnosis Interferon α-2b-induced cardiomyopathy.

Management Intravenous dobutamine and dopamine for cardiogenic shock and discontinuation of interferon α-2b.

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Figure 1: Electron microscopy demonstrating interferon-induced tubuloreticular inclusions
Figure 2: Endomyocardial biopsy demonstrating borderline myocarditis


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The authors thank Kenneth L Baughman for advice on this manuscript. This work was supported in part by the Johns Hopkins DW Reynolds Foundation.

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Correspondence to Daniel P Judge.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Khakoo, A., Halushka, M., Rame, J. et al. Reversible cardiomyopathy caused by administration of interferon α. Nat Rev Cardiol 2, 53–57 (2005).

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