Myocarditis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardium, the thick muscular layer of the heart wall. It is an uncommon disorder that is usually caused by viral infections such as coxsackie virus, adenovirus, and echovirus. It may also occur during or after various viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections. It can occur in people of all ages and is diagnosed more often in men than in women. Patients with acute myocarditis and chronic myocarditis experience different symptoms. In many cases the cause is not found. ( It is usually caused by a viral infection, particularly adenovirus and enterovirus infections (eg, coxsackievirus), although many infectious organisms commonly seen in infants and children have been implicated. It may present with chest pain, rapid signs of heart failure, or sudden death. It may be associated with dilation (enlargement due to weakness of the heart muscle) or with hypertrophy (overgrowth of the muscle tissue). When myocarditis is severe enough, the pumping action of your heart weakens and your heart is unable to supply the rest of your body with enough oxygen-rich blood.

Myocarditis is defined as inflammatory changes in the heart muscle and is characterized by myocyte necrosis. The signs and symptoms associated with myocardits are varied, and relate either to the actual inflammation of the myocardium, or the weakness of the heart muscle that is secondary to the inflammation. Myocarditis can be difficult to diagnose because it resembles many other diseases. Viral Myocarditis is relatively common and most cases are very mild and therefore never come to the attention of the doctor or are never detected clinically. Many types of virus infection can affect several parts of the body, including the heart muscle. So, myocarditis may develop at the same time as, or just after, a viral throat or chest infection, or when you have flu. The heart muscle may be damaged even more if your body’s immune system sends antibodies to try to fight whatever started the inflammation. Certain strains of female mice had a reduced inflammatory process when treated with estradiol. Treatment of myocarditis depends on the underlying cause.

Causes of Myocarditis

The common causes and risk factor’s of Myocarditis include the following:

Infection of the heart muscle by a virus.

Rheumatic fever.

Many viruses, such as those of polio, rubella and influenza.

A rare complication of bacterial infections, including diphtheria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and tetanus.

Other infectious organisms, such as rickettsiae and parasites.

Sarcoidosis, and immune diseases (such as systemic lupus, etc.).

A rare side-effect of some medicines.

Acohol, radiation, chemicals (hydrocarbons and arsenic).

Drugs, including doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, emetine, chloroquine (Aralen) and sulfonamides.

Symptoms of Myocarditis

Some sign and symptoms related to Myocarditis are as follows:

Vague chest pains.


Rapid pulse.

Sore throat or diarrhea.


Heart arrhythmias.

Chest pain.


Fluid retention, with swelling of your legs, ankles and feet.




Myalgias and arthralgias.

Treatment of Myocarditis

Here is list of the methods for treating Myocarditis:

If bacteria are causing the infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

If you have rapid or irregular heartbeats as a symptom, your doctor may advise hospitalization.

If a blood clot is present in the heart chamber, blood thinning medicine is given as well.

In such cases, medications to stabilize heart function may be necessary. These may include vasodilators, digitalis, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and other drugs. In certain severe types of myocarditis, steroids may be prescribed.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as enalapril (Vasotec), captopril (Capoten), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil) and ramipril (Altace).


Digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxin), which increases the strength of your heart muscle contractions and tends to slow the heartbeat.

Steroid medication if the cause is giant-cell myocarditis.