WHAT IS MYOCARDITIS?
WHAT IS MYOCARDITIS? MYOCARDITIS EXPLAINED IN 4 MINUTES – CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). The inflammation can reduce the heart’s ability to pump and cause rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Infection with a virus usually causes myocarditis. Sometimes myocarditis can result from a reaction to a drug or be part of a more general inflammatory condition. Signs and symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and rapid or irregular heartbeats.
Severe myocarditis weakens the heart so that the rest of the body doesn’t get enough blood. Clots can form in the heart, leading to a stroke or heart attack.
Treatment for myocarditis depends on the cause.
If you’re in the early stages of myocarditis, you might have mild symptoms such as chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeats, or shortness of breath. Some people with early-stage myocarditis don’t have any symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of myocarditis vary, depending on the cause of the disease. Common myocarditis signs and symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
- Shortness of breath, at rest or during activity
- Fluid buildup with swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
- Other signs and symptoms of a viral infection such as a headache, body aches, joint pain, fever, a sore throat or diarrhea
Sometimes, myocarditis symptoms may be similar to a heart attack. If you are having unexplained chest pain and shortness of breath, seek emergency medical help.
Myocarditis also sometimes occurs if you’re exposed to:
- Medications or illegal drugs that might cause an allergic or toxic reaction. These include drugs used to treat cancer; antibiotics, such as penicillin and sulfonamide drugs; some anti-seizure medications; and some illegal substances, such as cocaine.
- Chemicals or radiation. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, and radiation can sometimes cause myocarditis.
- Other diseases. These include disorders such as lupus, Wegener’s granulomatosis, giant cell arteritis and Takayasu’s arteritis.
Usually, myocarditis goes away without permanent complications. However, severe myocarditis can permanently damage your heart muscle, possibly causing:
- Heart failure. Untreated, myocarditis can damage your heart’s muscle so that it can’t pump blood effectively. In severe cases, myocarditis-related heart failure may require a ventricular assist device or a heart transplant.
- Heart attack or stroke. If your heart’s muscle is injured and can’t pump blood, the blood that collects in your heart can form clots. If a clot blocks one of your heart’s arteries, you can have a heart attack. If a blood clot in your heart travels to an artery leading to your brain, you can have a stroke.
- Rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Damage to your heart muscle can cause an arrhythmia.
- Sudden cardiac death. Certain serious arrhythmias can cause your heart to stop beating (sudden cardiac arrest). It’s deadly if not treated immediately.