This study of electrocardiography in mild diphtheria was suggested by the work in rheumatic fever of Cohn and Swift,1 Rothschild, Sacks and Libman,2 Bezançon and Weil,3 and others. These investigators found not only gross arrhythmias and all degrees of auriculoventricular block, but also frequent disturbances involving the ventricular portion of the electrocardiogram. They noted frequent changes in the form of the electrocardiographic abnormalities from time to time in the course of the disease, changes that did not always parallel the clinical signs of severity of the disease. Rothschild, Sacks and Libman2 and Shapiro4 emphasized the persistence of these abnormalities in patients who were declared clinically well. These observations, particularly the changes in the ventricular portion of the electrocardiogram, are interpreted as evidence of myocardial disease.
For many years circulatory failure has been recognized as one of the important causes of death in diphtheria. Several theories
SHOOKHOFF C, TARAN LM. ELECTROCARDIOGRAPHIC STUDIES IN INFECTIOUS DISEASESIII. DIPHTHERIA. Am J Dis Child. 1931;42(4_PART_I):811–836. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1931.01940160079008