ECG education

Arboviral infections and the heart

Vivienne Miller



Articles in this section are inspired by, but not based on, real cases to illustrate the importance of knowledge about ECGs in relation to clinical situations in general practice. Management is not discussed in detail.

Key Points

  • Consider the potential for arboviral infection causing heart complications in unwell travellers, especially pregnant women and people with pre-existing heart disease.
  • Serology is the main diagnostic method, but Zika virus serology may cross-react with dengue fever or even yellow fever immunity, appearing to be positive for those diseases instead.
  • Arboviral infection affecting the heart may cause arrhythmias, heart block or cardiac failure (either from complicating existing myocardial disease or due to myocarditis or pericarditis).
  • Cardiac complications of arboviral infections typically resolve when the acute infection has resolved.