Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease of the middle layer of the heart muscle that encloses the heart. It can develop at any age. It is a benign disease that usually does not cause serious complications. But, it is the third leading cause of sudden death in young patients. It develops when an infection reaches the heart or an inflammatory reaction happens in the body due to autoimmunity, certain chemicals, medicines or illegal drugs or radiation therapy. It can be detected by chest X-rays, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, MRI scan, blood tests, and myocardial biopsy.
Does Myocarditis Show On ECG?
Myocarditis can be detected by chest X rays, echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), electrocardiogram, blood tests, MRI scan, and myocardial biopsy. Blood tests are done to find out infections in the body. Chest X-rays are non-specific and do not always detect the condition. MRI scan is also useful for detection of the inflamed heart muscle.
Role Of ECG In Myocarditis
The electrocardiogram is a non-invasive test that detects the abnormal electrical conductivity of the heart. ECG is performed to assess the function of the heart. 12 lead electrocardiogram placed on different areas on the body is connected to an ECG machine and computer. The computer interprets the ECG. It is not always perfect and accurate. The patients have to hold still for 5 to 10 seconds to fetch accurate results through ECG.
ECG is usually done when a patient complains of lightheadedness, palpitations, abnormal heart rate, chest pain and shortness of breath. It usually shows normal waves initially even if there is the presence of any heart disease. Serial ECGs are done to find out the ailments of the heart.
In Myocarditis, ECG is an asset to find out abnormal heart rhythms. In mild cases, it may not show any deviation of waves. In such cases, ECG and echocardiogram are both normal. In such cases, it is advisable to avoid exercises and sports.
In most cases of Myocarditis, ECG can detect abnormal electric conductions of the heart. The abnormal changes shown in ECG that indicates Myocarditis are deviations in ST and T wave. It shows QRS or QT prolongation. T wave is diffused or inversed. It also shows low amplitude QRS complexes. These changes are non-specific. It also shows ventricular arrhythmias and defects in the AV conduction. In certain cases, inflammation of adjacent pericardium is also detected. This condition is also known as pericarditis. (1) (2)
Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease of the middle layers of the heart muscle that envelope the heart. This disease affects the ability of the heart to pump out blood to the rest of the body. The people who develop Myocarditis are usually healthy and sometimes without the symptoms of the disease. They do not notice the disease and get recover by them. It does not cause immediate life-threatening events but it may cause serious consequences in certain cases.
Myocarditis is often associated with pericarditis (the inflammation of all the three layers of heart muscles that surround the heart). It is usually a benign condition that does not cause serious long term adverse effects on the heart. In a few cases, it may cause cardiac failure, cardiac arrest, and even sudden death. (3)
Myocarditis is caused by infections (virus, bacteria, fungi, and parasites), autoimmune reactions, and exposure to certain chemicals, radiation, medicines like penicillin, diuretic drugs and illegal drugs such as cocaine.
Most patients of Myocarditis do not feel any symptom as most cases are mild in nature. Few patients experience symptoms similar to flu. He may have a feverish feeling, generalized pains, chest pain, and breathlessness.
Myocarditis causes inflammatory changes in the heart that can be detected in the electrocardiogram (ECG). It detects abnormal changes in the ST and T waves. It also shows that QRS and QT segments are elongated. Thus, it finds out abnormal arrhythmias and other defects in the conduction system of the heart.