Myocarditis refers to an inflammation of the heart muscle or myocardium.
Can Myocarditis Heal Itself?
Many times, myocarditis may heal itself on its own, without any treatment. Just imagine how a cut on your finger heals itself. Also, in many cases that require a prolonged treatment, sudden cardiac failure is very rarely seen.
In some cases, though apparently myocarditis may not be causing much harm, but secretly it may cause a permanent damage to the heart over time. The symptoms of heart failure will start showing slowly in such cases. In other cases, the heart condition may worsen rapidly or faster and there may be symptoms like breathlessness, heart palpitations, chest pain, and eventually heart failure.(1)
Treatment Of Myocarditis
In quite a number of cases, myocarditis may go away on its own. In a number of cases, myocarditis gets better with treatment. Some also recover completely from this condition. The focus of myocarditis lies on the treatment of the symptoms and causes, for example cardiac failure.
Mild cases of myocarditis call for avoiding of competitive sports for about 6 months on an average. This rest paired with some medication for the infection might be the only needed treatment in most cases of myocarditis. Antiviral medications are available these days, however they are not proven to be significantly effective in myocarditis.
Corticosteroids and other such medications that suppress your immune system may prove to be effective in certain rare types of myocarditis. If another underlying cause is the reason for myocarditis, the treatment is usually targeted at the underlying cause or disease. (2)
If there is a heart failure or arrythmias due to myocarditis, doctors may hospitalise you and prescribe certain necessary medications and treatment to prevent the formation of blood clots. If the heart is becoming weak, doctors may prescribe medications that will help in relieving workload or pressure from your heart or may help in relieving excessive fluid from the body.
Medications may include-
- Also known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, these help in relaxing the blood vessels and help in easy blood flow through the body
- Examples are enalapril, captopril, ramipril etc.
- Also known as angiotensin-II receptor blockers, these also help in relaxing the blood vessels and enabling an easy blood flow
- Examples are losartan, valsartan etc.
- These medicines help in controlling arrythmias and treating cardiac failure
- These work in different ways
- Examples are metoprolol, bisoprolol etc.
- These medications help in removing sodium and excess fluid retention from the body
- Examples are furosemide or Lasix etc.(2)
Certain serious forms of myocarditis may require an extensive treatment. These may include-
- IV medications act more rapidly thereby improving the defective function very quickly
- These may be used to quickly improve the pumping function of heart
- Also known as ventricular assist devices, these are actually mechanical pumps that help in pumping blood from ventricles (lower chambers of heart) to the remaining parts of your body
- These VADs may be used in people with weakened hearts
- This technique involves placing a balloon in the aorta with the help of a very tiny tube inserted in your leg and guided to your heart through x-ray imaging
- The inflation and deflation of eth balloon helps heart in increasing the blood flow, thereby reducing the work pressure on the heart
- This device can improve oxygen supply to the body in cases of severe cardiac failure
- In this method, the blood passes through a membrane in ECMO machine and carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is added to the blood
- This oxygenated blood is then sent to the rest of the body(2)
Many mild cases of myocarditis get better on their own. Most other cases get better by treatment. Rest and certain medications may be needed to treat myocarditis effectively in most cases. Severe cases may require an extensive treatment protocol.