Myocarditis or inflammatory heart disease is inflammation of the heart muscle. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased physical capacity, and cardiac arrhythmias. The duration of illness can range from hours to months. Possible complications include heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy or cardiac arrest.]
Most cases of myocarditis originate from viral infections. Other possible causes include bacterial infections, certain medications, toxins, and autoimmune diseases. Diagnostic means include electrocardiogram, increased troponin values, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and, in some cases, heart biopsy. An echocardiogram of the heart allows us to rule out other potential causes, such as valvular heart disease.
Treatment depends on severity and underlying cause. In most cases, drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, or diuretics are given. It is generally recommended not to exert physical effort during recovery. Corticosteroids or immunoglobulin therapy may be helpful in some cases. In more severe cases, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or heart transplant may be recommended.
In 2013, there were approximately 1.5 million cases of acute myocarditis worldwide. Although the disease can affect people of all ages, it is more common among young people. It is slightly more common among men than among women. Most cases are mild. In 2015, cardiomyopathies, including myocarditis, were the cause of 354,000 deaths, up from 294,000 in 1990. The first descriptions of the disease date from the mid-19th century.