Graves' disease and low-output cardiac dysfunction: Implications for autoimmune disease in endomyocardial biopsy tissue from eleven patients

V. Fatourechi, W. D. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Classic high-output thyrotoxic heart disease is generally considered a direct effect of thyroid hormone. In contrast, the cause of the less common low-output heart failure is generally unknown. The aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate available endomyocardial biopsy tissue from patients with coexistent Graves' disease and idiopathic low-output heart failure and determine whether the biopsy features were consistent with an autoimmune process. The study group consisted of 11 patients whose mean age was 47 years when they were diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and 52 years when diagnosed with cardiac dysfunction. Right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy tissue revealed severe lymphocytic myocarditis in a patient with severe ophthalmopathy and showed borderline myocarditis in a patient without ophthalmopathy. Biopsy tissues from 6 other patients showed appreciable myocyte hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis, consistent with dilated cardiomyopathy. Two patients had nondiagnostic biopsy specimens, and 1 patient had features suggestive of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. In conclusion, for the 11 patients with Graves' disease and unexplained systolic dysfunction, only 2 (18%) had lymphocytic infiltrates consistent with an autoimmune process. Thus, among patients with Graves' disease, most cases of low-output cardiac dysfunction appear to be due to causes other than an active autoimmune inflammatory process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-605
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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