Researchers in Germany have produced what they say is the first evidence to show that congestive heart failure (CHF) in some patients is linked with an autoimmune response.
In their study of 104 patients with the illness, the researchers found that 26% of those with CHF that was not caused by coronary heart disease had autoantibodies that attacked the β-adrenergic receptors of the heart, stimulating it to beat too rapidly. But only 10% of those with the more common form of CHF that is caused by myocardial infarction or coronary heart disease had the autoantibodies. In a group of 108 healthy controls, only 1% had the autoantibodies.
Voelker R. Autoimmune Response and CHF. JAMA. 1999;281(10):889. doi:10.1001/jama.281.10.889-JWM90001-3-1