Brief, recurrent, and spontaneous episodes of loss of consciousness in a healthy young male
Sherly Abraham1, Sarath Reddy2, Joseph Abboud2, Krishnamurthy Jonnalagadda3, Sasi K Ghanta1, Vasantha Kondamudi1
1Family Medicine Department, 2Faculty Attending Cardiology Department, 3Internal Medicine Department, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Introduction: Lyme disease is caused by bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus ticks, which get infected while feeding on the reservoir host of the bacteria.1 About 248,074 cases of Lyme disease were reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1992–2006.2 Over 95% of these cases are reported from the Northeastern and upper Midwestern United States.3 Carditis is usually a clinical manifestation/complication of Lyme disease and is seen in approximately 5% of untreated cases.4
Case presentation: A 32-year-old male Hispanic from Chile presented with brief episodes of loss of consciousness and awareness of irregular heart beat, and denied any history of tick bite. The patient was found to have a heart rate of 40 beats per minute and fluctuating variable atrioventricular blocks. A transvenous pacemaker was placed with good capture. The diagnosis was made with serological testing and gallium scanning. Treatment with antibiotics and continuous cardiac monitoring resulted in remarkable symptomatic improvement of the patient.
Conclusion: Absence of history or evidence of tick bite must not rule out the possibility of Lyme carditis in a patient with a transient heart block. Prompt recognition of this reversible cause of heart block is essential for avoiding implantation of an unnecessary, permanent pacemaker.
Keywords: Lyme carditis, transient heart block
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