Chilton Medical Center - ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEM
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)  font size
PrintEmail
Search Health Information   

Myocarditis
Myocarditis


Heart, section through the middle
Heart, section through the middle


Heart, front view
Heart, front view


Lymph tissue in the head and neck.
Lymph tissue in the head and neck.


Myocarditis

Definition:

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle.

The condition is called pediatric myocarditis when it occurs in children.



Alternative Names:

Inflammation - heart muscle



Causes:

Myocarditis is an uncommon disorder. Most of the time, it is caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection that reaches the heart.

Viral infections:

Bacterial infections:

  • Chlamydia
  • Mycoplasma
  • Streptococcus
  • Treponema

Fungal infections:

  • Aspergillus
  • Candida
  • Coccidioides
  • Cryptococcus
  • Histoplasma

When you have an infection, your immune system produces special cells to fight off disease. If the infection affects your heart, the disease-fighting cells enter the heart. However, the chemicals produced by an immune response can damage the heart muscle. As a result, the heart can become thick, swollen, and weak. This leads to symptoms of heart failure .

Other causes of myocarditis may include:

  • Allergic reactions to certain medicines or toxins (alcohol, cocaine, certain chemotherapy drugs, heavy metals, and catecholamines)
  • Being around certain chemicals
  • Certain diseases that cause inflammation throughout the body (rheumatoid arthritis , sarcoidosis )


Symptoms:

There may be no symptoms. Symptoms may be similar to the flu. If symptoms occur, they may include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Chest pain that may resemble a heart attack
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and other signs of infection including headache, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, or rashes
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Leg swelling
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:



Exams and Tests:

A physical exam may show no abnormalities, or may reveal the following:

  • Abnormal heartbeat or heart sounds (murmurs, extra heart sounds)
  • Fever
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Swelling (edema) in the legs or abdomen

Tests used to diagnosis myocarditis include:



Treatment:

Treatment is aimed at the cause of the problem, and may involve:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling
  • Diuretics to remove excess water from the body
  • Low-salt diet
  • Reduced activity

If the heart muscle is weak, your health care provider will prescribe medicines to treat heart failure. Abnormal heart rhythms may require the use of other medicines. You may also need a device such as a pacemaker, or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator to correct an irregular heartbeat. If a blood clot is in the heart chamber, you will also receive blood thinning medicine.

Rarely, a heart transplant may be needed if the heart muscle has become very weak or you have other health problems.



Outlook (Prognosis):

Your outcome can vary, depending on the cause of the problem and your overall health. Some people may recover completely. Others may have lasting heart failure.



Possible Complications:


When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of myocarditis, especially after a recent infection.

Seek medical help right away if:



Prevention:

Treat conditions that cause myocarditis promptly to reduce the risk.



References:

Liu P, Baughman KL. Myocarditis. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 70.

McKenna W. Diseases of the myocardium and endocardium. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 60.




Review Date: 5/13/2014
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Morristown Medical Center
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center
99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center
175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center
97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Hackettstown Medical Center
651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
908-852-5100

Goryeb Children's Hospital
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Atlantic Medical Group
1-800-247-9580

Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Hackettstown Medical Center

651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
908-852-5100

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 600 community-based health care providers.
1-800-247-9580

© 2016 Chilton Medical Center, 97 West Parkway, Pompton Plains, New Jersey 1-973-831-5000