What is Myocarditis?
Myocarditis is a term that is used for inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). In Myocarditis, your heart muscle and your heart’s electrical system can be disturbed, reducing your heart’s ability to pump efficiently and causing rapid or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Myocarditis is an inflammation of the Heart muscle. An estimated more than 75 percent of people with this condition have no prime cause. Some people with myocarditis, often called exercise-induced myocarditis, develop a painful inflammation in their heart muscles. Other people with myocarditis do not develop a painful inflammation of the heart muscle, and myocarditis may simply be a response to an infection or an allergic reaction to an allergen. Acute flaccid myocarditis (AFM) may be the result of a viral infection such as enterovirus.
How is Myocarditis diagnosed?
The first step is its diagnosis. A thorough physical exam is the first step to diagnosing the problem. Your doctor will listen to your heartbeat using a Stethoscope and seek evidence of an enlarged heart muscle. They may also take a detailed history, and ask you questions to evaluate your heart’s health. A cardiologist will perform diagnostic tests to measure the structure of the heart and the function of the heart muscle. They will also take images of your heart to see if there are any abnormalities. Tests to Diagnose myocarditis are:
1. Myocarditis Heart Scan: This test measures the structure of the heart.
2. Mammogram: A breast cancer screening exam will test the structure of your heart muscle.
3. X-ray of Heart: This is one of the tests recommended to diagnose the cause of myocarditis.
What causes Myocarditis?
Myocarditis is commonly observed in patients with a weak immune system. An estimated 90 percent of people with weakened immune systems who develop myocarditis have an underlying health condition that is characterized by low heart function. However, in some people, myocarditis is not an autoimmune condition. According to various research studies, it has been observed that many of the cases of myocarditis issue in dogs are idiopathic, meaning they have no known cause. If you think your dog may be having myocarditis, you may wish to discuss with your veterinarian an evaluation for possible bacterial or viral infection, such as hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis (mono), or Lyme disease.
Interaction between Myocarditis and COVID-19
Myocarditis and COVID-19 can exist in conjunction. But there are some cases of myocarditis that do not cause COVID-19, such as Myocarditis (but not COVID) which presents with congestive heart failure, congestive heart failure-specific features, and premature coronary artery disease Myocarditis, but not COVID-19, which presents with unusual sinus tachycardia Myocarditis, but not COVID-19, which presents with Pulmonic dysfunction, Severe obstructive lung disease, and Bronchiectasis. There are some cases of COVID that are caused by infection with organisms that commonly occur in the blood. Most of these organisms are antibiotic-resistant.
Who is at risk for Myocarditis?
People at risk of myocarditis include those with certain chronic viral infections (e.g., Influenza, RSV, HIV), chemotherapy, diabetics, steroid users, or anyone who is in close contact with someone who has myocarditis. Diagnosing myocarditis can be difficult since it can often be confused with other diseases. Although myocarditis can be diagnosed using chest imaging and blood tests, some people are diagnosed with myocarditis without blood work. There are also times when a doctor has to be able to differentiate between myocarditis and other heart problems. For example, cardiomyopathies, which cause irregular heart rhythms and are similar to myocarditis, don’t show up on imaging.
Treatment for Myocarditis
Once you’ve had a myocarditis diagnosis, you’ll need to receive treatment to control your symptoms. There are many potential causes of myocarditis, including infection, toxins, radiation, or a chemical or drug reaction. Many cases of myocarditis are self-limiting, meaning your symptoms will generally subside over time. But some people will have persistent myocarditis (or persistent inflammation of the heart muscle). For people with persistent myocarditis, a heart procedure known as myocardial infarction may be necessary to treat the inflammation.
I hope you will want to learn more about the heart and how to prevent heart disease. So please, make this the week you start to go to the doctor for a heart checkup. If you are already in the process of testing for heart disease, remember the importance of keeping a few tips in mind when you are having tests done to the heart, heart valves, and heart muscle. A healthy lifestyle is always good for your heart. About Dr. John Molina, he is a prominent heart and cardiovascular surgeon. He is known for performing some of the best and the most complex heart surgeries in the world and is one of the few in the world to perform such complex surgery in the world’s busiest city- New York City.