The underlying etiology of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in children varies, 14–22 % is secondary to myocarditis, and the majority remains idiopathic. Etiology has prognostic value; however, ‘a clinical diagnosis of myocarditis’ has been frequently used because the gold standard [endomyocardial biopsy (EMB)] is often not performed. Therefore, a consistent diagnostic approach and interpretation is needed. In this multicenter study, we evaluated the diagnostic approach and interpretation of the viral results in children with myocarditis and idiopathic DCM. We included 150 children with DCM, of whom 103 were assigned the diagnosis myocarditis (n = 21) or idiopathic DCM (n = 82) by the attending physician. Viral tests were performed in 97/103 patients, in only 34 % (n = 35) some of the tests were positive. Of those patients, we evaluated the probability of the assigned diagnosis using the viral test results. We classified viral test results as reflecting definite or probable myocarditis in 14 children and possible or unlikely myocarditis in 21 children. Based on this classification, 23 % of patients were misclassified. We found that in children with DCM, the diagnostic approach varied and the interpretation was mainly based on viral results. Since a ‘clinical diagnosis of myocarditis’ has been frequently used in daily practice because of the lack of EMB results, a uniform protocol is needed. We propose to use viral test results in several steps (blood PCR, serology, PCR and/or cultures of the gastro-intestinal and respiratory tract, and EMB results) to estimate the probability of myocarditis.

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Pediatric Cardiology
Department of Virology

den Boer, S.L, Meijer, R.P.J, van Iperen, G.G, ten Harkel, A.D.J, Du Marchie Sarvaas, G.J, Straver, B, … Dalinghaus, M. (2015). Evaluation of the Diagnostic Work-Up in Children with Myocarditis and Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Pediatric Cardiology, 36(2), 409–416. doi:10.1007/s00246-014-1022-3