Myocarditis - Experience

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What is myocarditis?

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). The inflammation of the heart muscle causes degeneration or death of heart muscle cells. Myocarditis has many different causes and can result in a range of outcomes from mild (presenting briefly and resolving) to rapidly progressing fatal disease. Myocarditis is differentiated from pericarditis because pericarditis is inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart and does not involve heart muscle like myocarditis. However, it is not unusual to have a patient present with both pericarditis and myocarditis.

There are many different types of myocarditis and a wide range of possible agents that can trigger the disease. Examples include:

  • Viral: Coxsackie B virus, enterovirus, adenovirus, influenza, and many others
  • Bacterial: Streptococci, meningococci, clostridia, Corynebacterium, mycobacteria, and many others
  • Fungal and parasites: Candida, aspergillosis, Cryptococcus, schistosomes, filaria, malaria, toxoplasma, and many others
  • Lymphocytic: Heart muscle infiltrated with lymphocytes
  • Eosinophilic: Heart muscle infiltrated with eosinophils
  • Autoimmune: Caused by autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
  • Fulminant: Inflammatory process in the heart muscle that leads to acute severe heart failure
  • Idiopathic: Inflammatory process in the heart muscle with no known cause
  • Acute: Symptoms appear rapidly and usually decrease after week or two
  • Chronic: Slow appearance of symptoms that last greater than two weeks
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Gary, 25-34 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 15

My healthy son was 30 years old when he started having a headache on a Friday morning. He went to work that day but came home mid afternoon and said he was very tired and still had a headache. He rested over the week end to try to get ready for work on Monday but when he did not leave for work early on Monday my wife went down to check on him and found that he had passed away during the night. It was found that he had myocarditis and the only signs were headache and tiredness for about 3 days before he passed away.

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Comment from: Charlie, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 06

My son died of acute myocarditis in 1989 when he was 3 months old. His symptoms were fits and vomiting. He died 2 days after being admitted to hospital after he developed respiratory failure. In those days there was no cure for this acute type he had. I wasn't told of the cause of the virus. He was the 7th person in the world to die of this as well according to the hospital. The Berlin heart is now a treatment while awaiting transplant. He was fit and well one minute and dead 2 days later. No warning signs other than above listed ones.

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