How Did Goku Get the Heart Virus in Dragon Ball? Theories Explained

goku heart disease

The Dragon Ball saga has gifted anime fans with tons of exciting battles, unique characters, and iconic heroes – of which the most infamous has to be Goku. While there are plenty of mysteries surrounding Goku’s past and destiny, his disease-related death has sparked numerous theories and debates – leaving countless fans wondering how Goku got the Heart Virus in Dragon Ball.

It’s believed that Goku developed the Heart Virus due to living in inhabited forests as a child or by bringing the virus back from Planet Yardrat or Namek (in which case he would be patient zero). It’s also possible that Dr. Gero created the contagious Heart Virus to kill Goku, infecting others along the way which led to the future timeline’s outbreak. However, the exact cause has never been confirmed in Dragon Ball.

While there is no official evidence to suggest that Goku got the Heart Virus in a specific way, possible explanations and theories have been pieced together by dedicated fans. Stick around to find out everything you need to know about Goku’s heart disease, as well as potential theories pointing to how Goku got the Heart Virus in Dragon Ball.

Goku’s Heart Disease

The heart disease that Goku suffered from was only portrayed after he contracted the illness, being described alongside symptoms. This disease has no specific name in the Dragon Ball universe, only going by the name “Heart Virus” – characterized by malaise and fatigue.

According to the records and images provided by the Dragon Ball Wiki, the heart virus contracted by Goku was nothing special – in fact, Future Trunks informed Dragon Ball characters that countless people had succumbed to the same heart virus in the future timeline. This included Future Goku, who had gotten the virus before there was a cure.

goku heart 1

Goku dying due to heart disease is possibly one of the most ‘inconvenient’ ways he could go in the Dragon Ball universe since this type of death cannot be wished back due to it being a ‘natural’ cause of death. In addition, Senzu Beans (often used to cure or help the Dragon Ball Saiyans with various weaknesses and ailments) are useless against the heart virus – they cannot cure the disease or even slow it down.

Even Pure Blooded Saiyans are helpless against the Heart Virus, especially considering that transforming into a Super Saiyan (or any level above Super Saiyan) quickens the pace of the virus’ detrimental effects. The virus will overpower the strengthened immune system of a Saiyan if given enough time, eventually leading to the individual’s death provided that they do not receive the specific Heart Medicine to cure them in time.

goku heart 2

Thankfully, Future Trunks traveled back in time to give present-day Goku (in the main Dragon Ball franchise timeline) the antidote for the Heart Virus. Although, Trunks being in the past does alter the future in various ways, much like many other times throughout the Dragon Ball storyline, to the point where it’s unknown if anyone found a cure or if anyone other than Goku suffered the virus in the main timeline.


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While the exact cause of the virus being contracted is never stated outright, Piccolo shows suspicion of the virus having a contagious nature. He advises Yamcha to take some medication after transporting Goku back to his house as a result, after which Goku recovers approximately 10 days later.

How Did Goku Get the Heart Virus in Dragon Ball?

The Dragon Ball saga has definitely pointed out how deadly and dangerous the Heart Virus is, and it’s known that Goku was at least one of the very first people to contract the illness. But, there has been no mention of how Goku, who may have even been patient zero, contracted the Heart Virus or how it might have been spread to others on Earth.

However, this hasn’t stopped fans from being endlessly curious, especially considering how many opportunities Goku would have had to contract something ‘otherworldly’. Below are some of the most well-believed theories as to how Goku contracted the Heart Virus in the main Dragon Ball timeline.

1. Goku Got the Heart Virus from Inhabited Forests

The first theory stems from Goku’s adventurous yet equally dangerous upbringing, as he did not have an ordinary childhood. In fact, Goku had never seen a human up until he reached the age of 12 years old, other than his foster father Gohan – who he would later name his first son after.

goku shenron

Goku lived similarly to Tarzan as a child, swinging through trees and befriending wild animals. Areas such as these are often home to bacteria and viruses that are foreign to civilization, much like civilization holds pathogens that are fatal for wildlife. Perhaps these are fine for animals, but there’s no telling what might happen once they enter the body of a human (or a Saiyan).

This theory doesn’t have a lot of ground, especially considering that Goku would have had this virus dormant for ages. But, considering that turning Super Saiyan worsens the virus, it’s possible that Goku surpassing new levels in strength led to what is known as the Heart Virus in Dragon Ball.

2. Goku Got the Heart Virus from Planet Yardrat

Goku explores various regions and alien planets throughout the Dragon Ball storyline. But, a specific planet he visited is Planet Yardrat, a new planet that exists millions of lightyears away from Earth with an ecosystem that’s vastly different from anything a Saiyan may have encountered.

dragon ball yardrat

It is quite possible that the Heart Virus actually originates from Planet Yardrat, although no one else who visited Yardrat contracted the virus or started developing similar symptoms. If this were the case, Goku is either really unlucky or he had been somewhere on Yardrat that none of the other Z-fighters had visited at that time.

Check out the video below by CBR to find out more about factors that may have affected the Heart Virus, as well as why many fans believe the Planet Yardat theory:

3. Goku Got the Heart Virus from Namek

Another theory is that Goku contracted the Heart Virus while on Namek, although this theory doesn’t have many supporters. There were many others with him at the time, including other Saiyans, who did not get the virus.

dragon ball namek

Similarly to the case with Planet Yardrat, Goku may have simply been somewhere others hadn’t (and Vegeta and Saiyan Soldiers may have received vaccinations for alien diseases). Although, there are still many holes in the theory even from this perspective.

4. Dr. Gero Created the Heart Virus

One of the theories with significantly more support is that Dr. Gero was the one behind the Heart Virus. Dr. Gero has been known for some seriously sick and twisted scientific experiments, especially considering what Dr. Gero did to Android 17 and Android 18.


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Dr. Gero absolutely hates Goku, the primary motive for many of his dark acts, and this mad scientist is undeniably intelligent – topped with the means to make something like this possible. When put up against his more challenging creations, fashioning a deadly virus may seem relatively easy for someone like Dr. Gero.

dragon ball dr gero

A possible theory is that Dr. Gero used mechanical flies to track down Goku and infect him, or perhaps by another method. But, this theory would explain why so many humans were infected with the Heart virus – to the point where civilization focused on finding a cure in Future Trunks’ timeline.

Goku hasn’t let the heart disease get in his way throughout the Dragon Ball storyline – Goku has surpassed the power of a God in some aspects and taken down countless bad guys along the way. But, the specific cause behind Goku’s heart disease remains a mystery to this day, with fans still speculating and theorizing numerous possibilities.

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