Cardiologist: Wes Leonard's heart failure could be linked to flu-like virushttp://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/x20 ... like-virus
Holland, MI —
An abrupt loss of heart function and reduced pumping because of an enlarged heart, otherwise known as dilated cardiomyopathy, took the life of Fennville basketball star Wes Leonard on Thursday night.
Cardiomyopathy, translated literally as “heart muscle disease” has three types: dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive.
In the case of dilated cardiomyopathy — which the Ottawa County medical examiner Friday ruled was the cause of Leonard’s death — the heart is enlarged, stretched and weak, so it doesn't pump normally, according to the American Heart Association.
Detroit-area Beaumont Hospital cardiologist Dr. David Haines said patients who have dilated cardiomyopathy typically have injury or microscopic scarring to their heart and are prone to heart failure but also life-threatening arrhythmias.
“Why people have this heart muscle injury is idiopathic — we just don’t know. The thinking is that most patients are patients who have had a viral infection and that infection has attacked the heart muscle,”
said Haines, who is an expert in the field but doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of the Leonard case.
Fennville basketball coach Ryan Klingler told The Sentinel after a game last week that Leonard had been dealing with flu-like symptoms.“It may in fact have been related to the flu,” Haines said. “It’s hard to say because there are so many viruses.”
Leonard, who was taken to Holland Hospital on Thursday night in cardiac arrest, is among a minority: Cardiac arrest among young adults is rare, only afflicting one out of every 100,000.