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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-17

Herpes simplex virus encephalitis with a cause for pause: A case report

1 Internal Medicine, University of Iowa – Des Moines Internal Medicine Residency Program, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, Des Moines, IA, USA
2 Department of Cardiology, UnityPoint Health, Des Moines, IA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Elizabeth Wendl
University of Iowa – Des Moines Internal Medicine Residency Program, 1415 Woodland Avenue, Suite 140, Des Moines, IA 50265
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJHR.IJHR_9_20

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We report a 61-year-old male who presented with recurrent syncopal episodes following 1 week of headaches, fevers, and malaise. Initial evaluation suggested sinus node dysfunction with a primary cardiac etiology; however, he was ultimately diagnosed with herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis after suggestive findings on brain imaging and confirmation by positive HSV polymerase chain reaction in cerebrospinal fluid. The patient was treated medically and recovered without further intervention. Sinus arrest due to HSV encephalitis is a rare phenomenon that has been described infrequently in the literature. This case report highlights the importance of recognizing reversible causes of sinus node dysfunction to avoid unnecessary permanent pacemaker implantation. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of UnityPoint Health-Des Moines, USA (approval No. EX2020-014) on March 8, 2020.

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