Lack of cardiac manifestations among patients with previously treated Lyme disease

Oliver Sangha, Charlotte B. Phillips, Kirsten E. Fleischmann, Thomas J. Wang, Anne H. Fossel, Robert Lew, Matthew H. Liang, Nancy A. Shadick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiac involvement is common in acute Lyme disease, and case reports suggest that cardiac abnormalities might also occur years after the primary infection. Objective: To determine the prevalence of cardiac abnormalities in persons with previously treated Lyme disease. Design: Population-based, retrospective cohort study with controls. Setting: Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Participants: From among 3703 adult respondents to a total-population (n = 6046) mail survey, 336 (176 case- patients and 160 controls) were randomly selected for clinical evaluation. Measurements: Current cardiac symptoms and major or minor abnormal electrocardiographic features, including heart rate; rhythm; axis; PR, QRS, and QT intervals; QRS structure; atrioventricular blocks; and ST-segment and T-wave changes. Results: Persons with Lyme disease (case-patients, n = 176) (mean duration from disease onset to study evaluation, 5.2 years) and persons without evidence of previous Lyme disease (controls, n = 160) did not differ significantly in their patterns of current cardiac symptoms and electrocardiographic findings, including heart rate (P > 0.2), PR interval (P = 0.15), QRS interval (P > 0.2), QT interval (P > 0.2), axis (P > 0.2), presence of arrhythmias (P > 0.2), first-degree heart block (P = 0.12), bundle-branch block (P > 0.2), and ST-segment abnormalities (P > 0.2). In multivariate analyses that adjusted for age, sex, and previous heart disease, a history of previously treated Lyme disease was not associated with either major (odds ratio, 0.78; P > 0.2) or minor (odds ratio, 1.09; P > 0.2) electrocardiographic abnormalities. Conclusion: Persons with a history of previously treated Lyme disease do not have a higher prevalence of cardiac abnormalities than persons without a history of Lyme disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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