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Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can affect all or part of the heart.
There are different types and severities of myocarditis. In some people, the condition develops suddenly and lasts a short time (acute myocarditis) and in others, it can be ongoing (chronic myocarditis).
Some cases of myocarditis can be mild, while others can be severe.
Myocarditis is a potentially life-threatening condition that needs immediate treatment, see your doctor or go to a hospital if you have, or think you may have, it.
The symptoms of myocarditis vary greatly depending on the type, cause and severity of the condition. However, early symptoms can include:
These early symptoms may be followed by:
Many things can cause myocarditis, such as an infection, medical condition and certain medicines.
Infections that can lead to myocarditis include:
Medical conditions that can trigger myocarditis include:
Other causes of myocarditis include:
Myocarditis can be a life-threatening condition. Go to a hospital immediately if you think you may have it.
Your doctor may diagnose myocarditis based on your symptoms, medical history and a physical examination.
You may be given tests, including:
Less commonly, you may need a biopsy of the affected heart muscle to confirm the diagnosis.
The main aim of myocarditis treatment is to remove the cause of the inflammation and improve the heart’s function. If you have myocarditis, the exact treatment you will receive will usually depend on what caused the condition and how severe it is.
Treatment can include:
If you have severe myocarditis, you may need additional treatment, such a heart transplant or a surgical procedure to implant a device to help your heart pump blood and beat correctly.
Things you can do yourself after diagnosis include:
If you have had myocarditis, your recovery will usually depend on the cause of the inflammation and how severe your symptoms were.
It is likely that you will need to have regular check-ups, even after you feel better. These check-ups may include regular imaging scans to check how well your heart is working.
It is important to take time to rest and recover. Do not rush back into physical activity. Instead, speak with your doctor to find out when you can start exercising again and how much exercise is safe.
Date of last review: 1 July 2020
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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.