The Treatment Center for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is run by Dr. A. Martin Lerner, has researched the theory of heart abnormalities in CFS patients.
Dr. Lerner’s interest many years ago was in practicing internal medicine and infectious diseases, particularly viral diseases. Dr. Lerner says that he was aware of virus induced heart disease from research studying. All of this research and studying led to articles and textbooks on cardiomyopathy. Dr. Lerner found that the symptoms of CFS were similar to prolonged infectious mono.
Infectious mono is caused by either Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) or Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Dr. Lerner then started to question if CFS could be a prolonged mononucleosis syndrome.
Dr. Lerner began to look at patients with the CFS for evidence of involvement of the heart, and experience (by tests of blood for antibodies) with the two mononucleosis viruses (EBV) and HCMV):
Abnormal Heart Monitoring
Studies found that abnormal T-wave flattenings and inversions were found in ALL patients who meet the CDC Criteria for CFS. Dr. Lerner said that “this finding has been tested statistically, and we can now say that all patients with CFS have abnormal 24-hour monitoring”. He goes on to say that the absence of abnormal Holter monitoring excludes CFS as the cause of fatigue.
“The T-wave of the electrocardiogram records repolarization (electrical recovery) of the left ventricle after every heartbeat in preparation for the next heartbeat. The normal T-wave is upright. With increased heart rates the abnormal T-waves occur. Abnormal oscillating T-waves occur with exercise. The symptoms of CFS are worsened by exercise, a striking coincidence.”
Abnormal Contraction of the Heart
According to Dr. Lerner, patients who have been ill with CFS for months may be “abnormal cardiac dynamics”. This means that there is weakening of the left ventricular muscle of the heart. Dr. Lerner says, “We have found that approximately 1 in 4 patients with CFS who has been ill for one year or more has abnormal asymmetric abnormal cardiac dynamics. It is indeed frightening to hear of weakening of the heart muscle. Therefore, at this time and out of context, I report that the treatment with anti-viral medicines, which we use, may reverse this heart muscle weakness, and return it toward normal!”
Heart Biopsies Show Cardiomyopathy
Heart biopsies of CFS patients show that there is cardiac involvement.
Dr. Lerner says that they have absolutely firm evidence that active EBV and active HCMV, or both viruses together, are commonly found in CFS patients. He also believes that these two viruses may be the cause of CFS as a reactivation or persistent initial infection. Human Herpesvirus 6 also is commonly found in CFS patients.
In studies, Valtrex has been found to reduce fatigue in those with only the EBV virus in CFS. With the HV6 & CMV viruses, the antiviral drug Valcyte has been successful when used on patients.