Myocarditis is marked by the inflammation of the heart muscle. It is an uncommon disease that can develop at any age. It is caused by infections or autoimmune reactions. The infectious agents may travel to the heart and cause infections in the heart muscles. Its symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, and many more. It is diagnosed by chest X-rays, echocardiogram or electrocardiogram. It can be treated with modern treatment options. In rare cases, it may cause complications such as cardiac arrest, cardiac failure or sudden death.

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Can Myocarditis Kill You?

Doctors do not know what has caused myocarditis. It is suspected that infections by virus, bacteria, parasites or other microbes may have lead to the occurrence of this disease. It is also likely to be caused due to weak immunity. The exaggerated action of the immune system, autoimmune reactions may also induce this disease.

The symptoms of myocarditis do not appear at the beginning of the disease and often are not noticeable. It can appear at any age. The symptoms of myocarditis are quite similar to Flu. Its symptoms include fatigue, fever, shortness of breath, muscular pain, joint pain, swelling in the lower limbs and chest pain.

Majority of patients with myocarditis recover completely from the disease with or without medical care. But, if the patient has developed a chronic condition of myocarditis, then regular follow up is required. In chronic condition, if this disease is not treated properly, it may cause permanent damage to the heart. In rare cases, it may lead to heart attack, heart failure, and even sudden death. (1)

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Myocarditis Complications

Myocarditis is marked by inflammatory changes in the middle layer of the muscular wall of the heart. It leads to the thickening and enlargement of the heart. It causes inflammation of the sac around the heart and is called pericarditis. It also causes weakening of the heart muscles which is called cardiomyopathy. It slowly causes weakening of the heart chamber and affecting the normal pumping action of the heart. This condition is usually mild in nature but, it may become life-threatening when it causes the following complications-

Cardiac Arrest And Sudden Death- scientists believe that it causes 5 to 20 % sudden death occurring in young patients happen due to myocarditis. (1)

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Formation Of Clot- the diseased heart cannot pump blood normally that causes the formation of solid masses in the blood called clots. These clots may travel to the arteries of heart or brain leading to formations of clogs there that result in stroke or heart attack.

Arrhythmia- due to the improper pumping action of the heart may cause rapid irregular heartbeat. This condition is called arrhythmia.

Heart Failure- the blood circulation becomes impaired due to the improper pumping action of the heart. It then results in scarcity of oxygen and accumulation of waste products in the body. It leads to heart failure.

Cardiomyopathy- When myocarditis is caused by a viral infection, it causes dilated cardiomyopathy which is the leading cause of heart failure.

Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease that involves the muscular layer of the heart. It leads to inflammatory changes in the muscle of the heart. It results in defects in the normal functions of the heart. The blood supply to different parts of the body gets impaired.

In certain cases, myocarditis leads to permanent damage to the heart. In such cases, patients require lifelong treatment. Myocarditis and cardiomyopathy are the main reasons for heart transplantation in young adults in the United States. (1)

Conclusion

Myocarditis is the disease of heart muscle characterized by inflammatory changes in them. It is usually a mild disease that may settle on its own without recognized by the patient. In rare cases, it progresses to complications that render severe damage to the entire heart. In such cases, it can kill you.

References

  1. https://www.innerbody.com/diseases-conditions/myocarditis

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: May 13, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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