Myocarditis is the inflammation of and damage to the heart muscle.

What is myocarditis?

Myocarditis can affect your heart muscle and your heart's electrical system, reducing your heart's ability to pump and causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias.

What are the symptoms of myocarditis?

Symptoms of myocarditis include:

  • Pain and tightness in the chest which may spread across the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

What are the causes of myocarditis?

Common causes of myocarditis include:

  • A viral, bacterial or fungal infection
  • A chest infection
  • An autoimmune disease (when a person’s own immune system attacks their body)

While these are common causes, sometimes the cause of myocarditis is unknown.

How is myocarditis diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your medical history and may order the following tests:

What treatment is available for myocarditis?

Your doctor may treat your condition with a combination of medication and surgery depending on the condition of your myocarditis.

Medication includes:

In prolonged cases myocarditis might affect your heart muscle and tissue, meaning you could develop heart failure. If the damage is very severe you could be considered for a heart transplant.

Resources

The following resources have information about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for myocarditis: