Heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis): frequently diagnosed late

21 October 2017

© Jupiter Images / iStockphoto

A heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) may be associated with different symptoms. the complaints were rather general, so it is not always easy to recognize a heart muscle inflammation directly as such are common.

A heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) may very different symptoms cause. mostly occur in myocarditis only slight or no discomfort, which is why it is not always easy to recognize. Only in rare cases the inflammation goes to the heart muscle so severe that it will develop life-threatening.

A acute myocarditis often shows symptoms of rapidly progressing possibly heart failure (heart failure). Here, the general condition deteriorated deteriorated and it also often arise following complaints:

Other possible symptoms of acute myocarditis are:

in the chronic stage myocarditis the possible symptoms are more general:

Under certain circumstances, symptoms of accompanying pericarditis (pericarditis) or an accumulation of fluid in the pericardium consist (pericardial effusion) in chronic myocarditis.

Myocarditis: The picture shows a young woman yawning. © iStock

With a heart muscle inflammation, among other symptoms such as lethargy and rapid fatigue may occur.

To the bacteria, which can trigger a heart muscle inflammation include, for example:

But other bacteria can have a myocarditis result.

However, especially viruses cause myocarditis in Germany. About half of all cases is due to a viral infection. As a trigger, inter alia, the following viruses are:

Similarly, a heart muscle inflammation may as a result of Autoimmune disease (E.g., sarcoidosis or rheumatoid) arise.

A so-called toxic myocarditis however, caused by the ingestion of substances that can damage the heart muscle, such as:

In addition, a heart muscle inflammation may originate in a radiotherapy have (e.g., as part of a cancer therapy).

to recognize a heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis), is not always easy. in the acute stage it is possible to determine the inflammation caused by a physical examination and the use of technical equipment. At a chronic myocarditis is also a tissue sample from the heart muscle (called. myocardial biopsy) is useful in order to determine the most effective treatment.

In cases of suspected myocarditis, the doctor asked first detail of the complaints. Of particular interest is the diagnosis even if currently an infection is present or recently existed (for example, cold, flu, diarrhea). Then usually a physical examination of the person concerned, in which the doctor usually listens to the heart and lungs and measures blood pressure follows.

In addition, a blood sample is advisable to determine various laboratory values, such as:

Under circumstances of myocarditis is a really other disease based. This has to be considered in the diagnosis.

Subsequently, usually an in-depth Examination of the heart ECG (electrocardiogram) and cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography):

More recently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays an important role in the diagnosis - they may help you decide which risks exist through the heart muscle inflammation for those affected. Also, an X-ray examination can be useful.

Use the myocardial biopsy, it is possible in case of virus-induced myocarditis identify any existing genetic material of the virus and thus to determine the exact pathogen. Therefore, this tissue examination is mainly at a chronic myocarditis recommended to set a treatment that really targets the causes.

With a heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) treatment has two objectives:

early recognized and has treated properly myocarditis one good prognosis. Usually it heals completely. Partly remain harmless arrhythmia.

Only in rare Cases - if the inflammation progresses inexorably despite treatment - be a heart transplant necessary.

For the treatment of myocarditis include above all physical conservation. In the first few weeks may also bed rest to recommend. Affected get in this time preventively the drug heparin to prevent by the lack of movement creates a thrombosis or embolism. This early phase should last at least as long as signs of heart failure exist.

Only when the acute symptoms subside, you can see the physical strain bit by bit increase again. In addition, sufferers receive the therapy

At a hard running myocarditis intensive medical care and hospitalization may be necessary. Show up as part of myocarditis serious arrhythmia, patients usually receive - even if they are younger - a pacemaker.

The causal treatment can be very different: Is a progressive myocarditis proven a virus responsible is a treatment with interferons possible. Inserted a bacterial infection behind the myocarditis, a targeted therapy with antibiotics is advisable.

Has an autoimmune disease causes myocarditis, drugs come into question, which suppress the immune system: the so-called immunosuppressants (E.g., prednisone, azathioprine). In a related autoimmune myocarditis, the body's defense directed against one's own heart muscle tissue. By the immunosuppressants, the inflammation weakens or come to a complete standstill.

A acute myocarditis (Myocarditis) will in most cases a good flow and heals without consequences. In some patients, however, the acute myocarditis goes into a chronic form about.

Rather Rare are severe cases possible in which the disease worsens in a short time or a heart muscle disease (heart failure) leads.

Takes a myocarditis one chronic course, is the problem: In the chronic stage, the inflammation can lead to an enlarged heart with reduced pumping function (called dilated cardiomyopathy.) lead.

You can a heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis) not directly prevent. However, it is possible that risk to keep for a myocarditis by simple measures as low as possible: In order not to favor the emergence of a heart muscle inflammation, you should during and after infection (eg common cold, diarrhea or flu) no sports and in this period, otherwise easy physically.


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