Can anaplasmosis cause heart problems?


The number of cases of human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) is rising in the United States, with more than a three-fold increase over the past several years. The tick-borne illness is not often associated with conduction problems and myocardial disease. But a new study highlights a case in which anaplasmosis triggered mycopericarditis.

In their article, “Case report: human granulocytic anaplasmosis causes acute myopericarditis with atrial fibrillation,” Levy et al. describe the case of a 65-year-old man who presented to the emergency room with fever and malaise, which had persisted for one week.¹ An electrocardiogram showed new atrial fibrillation and conduction abnormalities.

The man resides in a suburb of Boston in a home surrounded by wooded areas. “He reported being outdoors regularly for kayaking trips in the few months prior to presentation,” the authors wrote.

“Anaplasma serologies were positive for IgM and negative for IgG, and subsequent PCR detected anaplasma phagocytophilum DNA,” the author wrote. “CMR imaging revealed findings consistent with myopericarditis.”

According to the authors, the man had “an isolated HGA infection, and cardiac workup showed evidence of myopericarditis as well as conduction system disease.”

Conduction and rhythm abnormalities are frequently associated with Lyme disease but have not been previously reported with [anaplasmosis] HGA.

“This case highlights that conduction and rhythm disturbance can be a feature of myocarditis in the setting of isolated [anaplasmosis] HGA infection,” the authors wrote.

“In our patient HGA was the sole identifiable culprit,” the authors point out. “This is an uncommon finding; isolated HGA myocarditis or myopericarditis has been reported only once previously.”

The authors conclude:

  • “myopericarditis and serious haemodynamic compromise are potential severe complications of HGA infection, without the need for a concomitant Lyme infection.
  • “anaplasma phagocytophilum infection, in the absence of any concomitant Lyme disease, can cause acute myopericarditis”
  • “HGA myopericarditis can present with electrical disturbances including atrial fibrillation and conduction system disease.”

It is important to include anaplasmosis in patients presenting with clinical symptoms consistent with myopericarditis and continuing doxycycline treatment until both Lyme disease and HGA are ruled out, the authors explained. This is particularly relevant to those patients living in endemic regions who present with symptoms during the late Spring through early Fall.

  1. Levy AM, Martin LM, Krakower DS, Grandin EW. Case report: human granulocytic anaplasmosis causes acute myopericarditis with atrial fibrillation. Eur Heart J Case Rep. 2023 Jan 17;7(1):ytad026. doi: 10.1093/ehjcr/ytad026. PMID: 36727140; PMCID: PMC9883714.

6 Replies to "Can anaplasmosis cause heart problems?"

  • Lorraine
    02/26/2023 (12:21 pm)

    Can this also be related to mycotoxins? Dr. Cameron, do you also treat mycotoxins in addition to lyme & babesia? Is Igenix FISH positive Babesia an accurate test for babesia that needs treatment? Other tests, PCR, blood smear, were negative. Igenix IGG positive for TBRF borreliosis..does that need treatment too? Probably too much for blog, please advise.

  • تمرض منزلي
    02/21/2023 (8:36 am)

    In your blog, the content is so exciting and amazing. You have the best knowledge about the health industry continues to grow and evolve. I am happy to read your best blog.

  • David Thomas
    02/08/2023 (9:59 am)

    Way back in 06, I was diagnosed to test positive for Lyme. Ehrlichia 1 or 2. Now renamed Anaplasmosis. I skipped a beat for years until my heart rhythm dropped to 32BPM and I walked into the ER where they put me in a room and turned me around at 21BPM. * months later an Ablasion was done after the heart was strong enough. Now I understand we can turn that around with treatment without Ablassion. Thanks for sharing this article that touches home for me.

  • Naomi
    02/06/2023 (11:36 am)

    Hmm, I have had high levels of troponin, but it is glossed over as just a heart attack. However, I still have those attacks. Meds are doing nothing, I am sensitive to most meds, making it hard to treat. But, they cannot even get a clear dx. Lyme, Bartonella, Anaplasmosis, MCAS, CMV, Hashimoto’s, and probably others if I could do a full IgeneX test. Something in one or more of those diseases has to be messing with my heart, not to mention the rest of my body. Failed double bypass. As I warned the doctors, my veins have collapsed since birth. Had to have many transfusions which they were only able to do in my feet, 55 years ago. They didn’t listen. Within a week I could tell bypass didn’t work right. Took a year for the docs to believe me. Now they say nothing can be done. I am told to have a DNR on my person, and asked, “How the &^% are you still alive?”, because of my BP readings. I need to be someone’s test dummy!

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/06/2023 (2:10 pm)

      I have had patients with both Lyme and heart disease at the same time. I have had to manage both with their cardiologist

  • KClark
    02/06/2023 (10:27 am)

    We also have to keep in mind that people with Lyme disease often test negative. So, the patient might have been infected with both Lyme Borrelia and Anaplasma. The negative Lyme tests cannot rule that out with certainty.

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