Health education series: What is myocarditis?

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium).

This condition is commonly caused by viruses, other causes include bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, certain medications (cardiotoxins), illicit drugs, and alcohol. In most cases, the cause of myocarditis is not known.

Myocarditis may present as fever, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fainting, fast heart beat, leg swelling, fluid on the lungs, abnormal heart beat and cardiac arrest.

The diagnosis can be made running some tests like an ECHO- (this is a heart scan). Other tests include Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), and blood tests.

Treatment is of the underlying cause and supportive care.

In mild myocarditis, recovery occurs spontaneously over weeks to months.

More serious myocarditis should be managed in hospital by cardiology specialists.

Written by Dr. Onuoha

Disclaimer: Simplified for easy to understand. This is not medical advice.

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