MYOCARDITIS

Myocarditis is inflammation of the myocardium - the heart muscle. It's not related to lifestyle and there are no medical treatments to prevent it.

 

Most people suffering with myocarditis recover without complications, but in rare cases when inflammation is severe, there can be damage to the heart.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MYOCARDITIS?

 

People who have myocarditis usually develop symptoms one to two weeks after the initial viral illness.

 

Symptoms of myocarditis include:

 

a stabbing pain and/or tightness in the chest which may spread across the body

 

shortness of breath when lightly exercising or walking

 

difficulty breathing when resting

 

flu like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue

 

palpitations or an irregular heart rhythm.

 

 

WHAT CAUSES MYOCARDITIS?

 

Myocarditis is usually caused by:

 

a viral, bacterial or fungal infection

 

a chest infection

 

an auto immune disease (when a person's own immune system attacks their body)

 

sometimes the cause is unknown.

 

 

WHAT TESTS WILL I NEED FOR MYOCARDITIS?

 

Tests are not always performed as a diagnosis of the condition might never be made and symptoms may resolve on their own.

 

However, if symptoms persist you may be sent for:

 

an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check for an abnormal heart rhythm, if you have experienced palpitations

 

an echocardiogram (ECHO) if your doctor is concerned there may be heart muscle damage

 

blood tests to check for infection.

 

 

WILL I NEED TREATMENT FOR MYOCARDITIS?

 

In prolonged cases myocarditis might affect your heart muscle and tissue, meaning you could develop heart failure. Treatment involves close monitoring and medication, including anti-inflammatory medicines and, depending on your condition, antibiotics.

 

If the damage is very severe you could be considered for a heart transplant.