Myocarditis, what is the disease that can strike even at a young age: symptoms, treatments – WWN

Myocarditis, what is the disease that can strike even at a young age: symptoms, treatments – WWN

Of Antonella Sparvoli

In most cases it has a benign course; However, there are forms that can have serious consequences or even be fatal. Among the most common symptoms: chest pain, breathlessness, arrhythmia

During the pandemic we often heard about myocarditis as possible side effect of Sars-CoV-2 virus infection or vaccination. In reality it was not an anomalous fact: this inflammation of the heart muscle in fact an event quite frequentwhich can have multiple causes, among which infections stand out.

What causes myocarditis

In Western countries the the most common cause is infectionsfor example from influenza, respiratory or gastrointestinal viruseswhich can lead to a direct inflammatory process affecting the cardiac muscle or inflame the myocardium indirectly due to an exaggerated immune response to the virus involved, often due to a genetic predisposition to an anomalous reaction explains Berardo Sarubbi, director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Unit at the Monaldi Hospital in Naples and professor of Cardiovascular Diseases and Sports Cardiology at the Parthenope University of Naples.


What are the warning signs? In most cases has a subclinical course and almost asymptomatic. Cases of people who have developed it without realizing it are common. However, some exist rare fulminating forms, or otherwise serious, associated with significant heart dysfunction, which can be life-threatening. The more specific symptom The chest pain which may make you think ofheart attackespecially in subjects at risk of cardiovascular disease. Other possible symptoms are breathlessness and arrhythmias. Abnormal heartbeats can be isolated, as in the case of extrasystoles, or there can be sequences, as in the case of ventricular tachycardiaswhich can cause sudden death.

Possible signs

When to suspect it? The chest pain if you have a recent history of fever or infection it must make you think of myocarditis. To confirm suspicions useful carry out a series of investigationsfrom the measurement of cardiac enzymes to the electrocardiogram and echocardiogram, but the main test is magnetic resonance imaging.

Heart failure and arrhythmias to keep under control

L’inflammation can put strain on the heart muscle (myocardium) causing heart failure, which is why drugs are first used to manage this dysfunction and at the same time prevent or treat any arrhythmias. The alterations in heart rhythm are the most dangerous manifestation because they can lead to sudden death. It is recommended that one be performed control MRI to confirm the resolution of the inflammation, when the signs of the disease have now disappeared. Once recovery has occurred, however, it is good to pay special attention to these patients, especially when they are young, particularly in the resumption of sporting activity That it must be gradual concludes Professor Sarubbi.

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November 19, 2023 (modified November 19, 2023 | 08:06)

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