Myocarditis

Also known as: inflammation of the myocardium, inflammation of the heart

​What is Myocarditis?

The myocardium is the thick layer of muscle tissue in the center of the wall of the heart. When it becomes inflamed, the disorder is known as myocarditis which may lead to a number of symptoms.

What causes myocarditis?
Viruses are the most common cause of myocarditis, however  bacteria, parasites and fungi can also cause myocarditis. In rarer instances, certain medications or exposures to chemicals, radiation, or toxins can lead to myocarditis. Some diseases which cause inflammation throughout the body, for example rheumatoid arthritis, may also involve the heart and cause myocarditis.

What are the symptoms of myocarditis?
Some children may have very  few,  difficult to detect symptoms, however as myocarditis  affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally, symptoms can include trouble breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain, fatigue and fainting.

What are myocarditis care options?
In many cases myocarditis can be treated with medications that help the heart pump blood more easily. Most children with good medical treatment will recover completely. When myocarditis is severe, surgery or the implantation of a pacemaker might be required to help the heart work more efficiently.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 1:44:40 PM

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