U guest died of heart ailment

Inflammation of heart tissue blamed

Matthew Gruchow

Medical examiners believe a heart ailment likely caused the death of a 19-year-old Andover, Minn., man who died in Riverbend Commons on Sept. 26.

According to a Hennepin County medical examiner report released Thursday, Jacob Kreye died of natural causes connected to lymphocytic myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can be caused by several unexpected and spontaneous reasons. Kreye was not a student.

According to the search warrant affidavit, Kreye had been visiting on Sept. 25 and slept over at University student Aurora Albright-Konicek’s room at the time of his death. At approximately 11:30 a.m. the next day, she called police when she could not wake Kreye.

Dr. Leslie Miller, chief cardiologist at the Medical School said the condition can be caused by a number of viruses that trick the body into thinking heart tissue is a virus.

The body begins to attack the heart, causing the inflammation, Miller said.

“It injures the heart,” he said. “It can lead to actual injury to the muscle and weakening the heart and develop actual heart failure.”

Four to five students are seen each year with the condition, Miller said.

Medication that helps the heart recover makes the condition easily treatable, he said. Patients recover in a matter of months, he said.

“It’s a fraction of a percent of those that get these infections that ever develop this complication,” Miller said.

Albright-Konicek told police Kreye had used marijuana and alcohol the night before his death, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Medical Examiner investigator Shawn Wilson said alcohol and marijuana could not cause the inflammation in Kreye’s heart.

According to the affidavit, police found three liquor bottles, 20 empty beer cans, and containers of suspected marijuana, a plant-like material and some powdered substances in Albright-Konicek’s room.

Kreye went to Coon Rapids High School from 2000-03.