Background: Viruses have been implicated in the aetiology/pathogensis of unexplained dilated cardiomyopathy. 6% of adult
Jamaicans are HTLV-1 seropositive. We therefore explored the relationship between HTLV-1 infectious cases and unexplained
dilated cardiomyopathy in Jamaica.
Methods: Thirteen patients were recruited from Kingston Public Hospital Cardiology clinic, to study HTLV-1 seroprevalence in
patients with unexplained dilated cardiomyopathy (WHO criteria: LVEF< 45 %, LVIDd>117% of upper limit for age and BSA without
evidence of coronary disease, severe hypertension, excess alcohol intake, valvular heart disease and HIV infection). The HTLV-1
seroprevalence in a group of patients without dilated cardiomyopathy registered in the cardiology clinic was then compared. HTLV-
1 antibodies were detected by ELISA and confirmed where positive by Western Blot. Logistic regression was used to assess the
association between HTLV-1 seropositivity and unexplained dilated cardiomyopathy.
Results: HTLV1 seroprevalence in 11 patients (7 males, 3 females) with unexplained dilated cardiomyopathy and 30 (11 males,
19 females) controls were compared. Three (27%) patients with cardiomyopathy and 3 (10%) of controls had HTLV-1 antibodies
the crude OR (95%CI) for HTLV1 seropositivity was 3.36 (0.57-20.10). The age and sex adjusted OR (95%CI) was 2.71(0.43-17.19).
Conclusion: There may be an association between HTLV-1 infection and unexplained dilated cardiomyopathy in Jamaica. A
larger study is required to further explore this potential relationship.