What is it?

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, known as the myocardium the muscular layer of the heart wall. This muscle is responsible for contracting and relaxing to pump blood in and out of the heart and to the rest of the body.
When this muscle becomes inflamed, its ability to pump blood becomes less effective which may cause circulation problems and fluid accumulation.
Myocarditis is most often due to a viral infection. Other causes include bacterial infections, certain medications, toxins, and autoimmune disorders such as lupus.
Most patients who have myocarditis recover and resume healthy heart activity, but myocarditis can possibly cause permanent damage to the heart and a heart failure.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Inflammatory Cardiomyopathy

Signs & symptoms

The signs and symptoms associated with myocarditis are varied, and relate either to the actual inflammation of the myocardium, or to the weakness of the heart muscle that is having a difficulty to pump blood forward. Signs and symptoms of myocarditis include the following:
* chest pain
* palpitations or abnormal heart rhythm
* fever
* fatigue
* inability to exercise
* shortness of breath
* lower extremity swelling


Though myocarditis can be difficult to diagnose, your doctor can use several tests to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions that may cause your symptoms. These tests include:
* blood testing: to check for signs of infection or inflammation sources
* chest X-ray: to show chest anatomy and potential signs of heart failure
* Electrocardiogram (ECG): to detect abnormal electrical activity that may indicate a damage to the heart muscle and rule out other conditions like a heart attack.
* Echocardiogram (ultrasound imaging of the heart): to help detect structural or functional problems in the heart.
* MRI to image your heart
* Myocardial biopsy (sampling of heart muscle tissue).


Treatment may include:
* Medications to reduce the strain on your heart, like beta blockers or ACE inhibitors.
* Corticosteroid therapy to help reduce inflammation
* Diuretic therapy to treat fluid accumulation
* Antibiotic therapy if a bacterial infection is suspected
* Behavioral changes such as rest, fluid restriction, and a low-salt diet

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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