Myocarditis is an disease affecting the guts muscle (or myocardium), most frequently caused by infections, immune diseases, or toxins. This inflammation reduces the power of the guts muscle to contract normally. In severe cases, myocarditis can produce permanent heart damage, especially , dilated cardiomyopathy and coronary failure .
Symptoms of Myocarditis
The symptoms caused by myocarditis can vary tremendously in severity. Some people with this condition have symptoms that are barely noticeable, while others suffer severely. The degree of symptoms tends to correlate with the severity of inflammation present within the cardiac muscle . Mild symptoms are related to milder cases of myocarditis, while severe symptoms usually reflect a big inflammatory process.
In many of us myocarditis may be a relatively mild and self-limited illness with only a few symptoms. Sometimes an individual with myocarditis will experience a flu-like illness that resolves during a week or two.
In more significant cases actual cardiac symptoms appear. pain are often a prominent symptom. If the myocarditis becomes severe enough to cause coronary failure , dyspnea (shortness of breath) and edema (swelling) of the legs and feet can occur, along side all the opposite problems one can experience with coronary failure .
Occasionally myocarditis overwhelms the guts and produces rapid, severe, and irreversible coronary failure .
Heart arrhythmias can occur during acute myocarditis. These arrhythmias are often of just about any type, including both the bradycardias (slow heart rhythms) and tachycardias (rapid heart rhythms), like fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. These arrhythmias usually disappear once the acute myocarditis resolves.
What Causes Myocarditis?
Many causes of myocarditis are identified. These include:
- Infections with numerous infectious agents, including viral infections, bacterial infections, Lyme disease , fungal disease, parasites, and toxoplasmosis.
- Systemic immune or inflammatory diseases, including lupus, sarcoidosis, inflammatory bowel disease, postpartum cardiomyopathy (myocarditis after delivering a baby), and Graves disease
- Toxins, including alcohol, cocaine, arsenic, carbon monoxide gas , and various medications.
- Allergic reactions to numerous substances including antibiotics, insect or snake bites, or tetanus toxoid.
- Radiation, including radiotherapy applied to the chest area, like for carcinoma .
How Is Myocarditis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of myocarditis usually is formed when the doctor puts together clues from several sources, including the patient’s symptoms and physical exam, the electrocardiogram (which often shows characteristic changes), and a number of other blood tests (including elevated cardiac enzymes, abnormal blood counts, abnormal rheumatologic screening tests, or viral blood tests). If symptoms of coronary failure are present, an echocardiogram are often helpful in assessing the extent of cardiac muscle damage. Occasionally, a cardiac muscle biopsy is required to document the extent and sort of inflammation present within the cardiac muscle .
How Is Myocarditis Treated?
The treatment of myocarditis is aimed first and foremost at identifying and treating the underlying cause. as an example , it’s critical to treat an underlying infection with the acceptable antibiotics, to aggressively treat an underlying autoimmune disease , or to get rid of the source of toxin exposure (such as cocaine or alcohol). additionally , if coronary failure is present, aggressive treatment for coronary failure should be instituted immediately.
In addition, people with acute myocarditis should avoid exercise or any unnecessary workout to scale back the work of the guts during this acute phase.
With aggressive treatment, many of us with myocarditis will recover completely. In some people, however, the recovery isn’t complete, and a few degree of cardiac damage could also be permanent. additionally , inflammation may smolder along for months or years, causing gradual worsening of cardiac function.
For this reason, anyone who has had myocarditis must be reevaluated every few months, and their physical activity may have to be limited until it’s clear that the matter has fully resolved. Even at that time , people that have had myocarditis should be reexamined on an annual basis.