What is Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis)?


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What is Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis)?

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). Inflammation of the heart muscle causes degeneration or death of heart muscle cells. Myocarditis has many different causes and can have a range of consequences, from mild (which appears and resolves in a short time) to a rapidly progressive fatal disease.

The myocardium, also known as cardiac muscle, makes up a large portion of the heart. The myocardium may become inflamed from time to time due to infections. Bacteria, fungi, autoimmune diseases, especially viruses, can cause inflammation of the heart muscle. This condition, which is defined as myocarditis in medicine, is mostly asymptomatic, but in some cases it can lead to heart failure or more serious consequences.

What Causes Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis)?

Many factors can cause Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis). These are the first infections that come to mind. Viruses can affect the heart, as well as many systems of the body, and can take hold in the heart muscle. It can cause inflammation of the heart muscle. Autoimmune diseases can also cause myocarditis.

Causes of Heart Muscle Inflammation are as follows:

  • Viral İnfections:

Such as flu, cold

  • Bacterial infections:

Such as streptococci, meningococci, clostridia, vorynebacterium, mycobacteria

  • Fungi And Parasites:

Such as candida, aspergillosis, cryptococcus, schistosomes, filaria, malaria, toxoplasma

  • Lymphocytic:

Causes related to lymphocytes

  • Eosinophilic:

Causes related to eosinophils

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Systemic diseases such as lupus
  • Some drugs that cause toxic reactions
  • Antibiotics
  • Drug use

What are The Symptoms of Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis)?

If myocarditis is in a mild stage, symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath are likely to be absent. But in severe stages, the signs and symptoms of the disease vary depending on the cause.

However, Common Symptoms Are:

  • Pain in the chest,
  • Arrhythmias,
  • Shortness of breath while resting or during physical activity,
  • Tiredness,
  • Edema in the legs or ankles,
  • Headache,
  • Joint and muscle pains,
  • High fever,
  • Sudden loss of consciousness in advanced cases.

Heart Muscle Inflammation in Children (Myocarditis)

If this health problem develops in children, the following symptoms are seen, unlike the above symptoms.

Myocarditis in Children

  • Arrhythmia
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • High Fever

Especially viral infections are known to increase the risk of heart muscle infection in children. Another common symptom of heart muscle inflammation in children is rapid breathing. In addition, heart rhythms that beat more than normal are also seen.

How is Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis) Diagnosed?

Heart diseases usually progress over time and show symptoms suddenly.

For this reason, it is recommended that adults who have heart disease in their family members or who have reached the age of 40 should be followed up at regular intervals by evaluating genetic factors.

The first stage of diagnosing diseases often involves evaluating and recording the patient’s health history and performing a physical examination. Following these procedures, some individual tests may be requested by the cardiologist.

These tests are listed as follows:

  • Blood Test:

Infections associated with heart muscle inflammation can be checked with a blood test. In these patients, an increase in heart enzymes such as troponin and CK-MB is usually observed among the values ​​measured. Apart from these, sedimentation, CRP and procalcitonin values ​​may be high.

  • Superficial ECHO (Transthoracic Echocardiogram):

Observation of heart cavities and valve structures and evaluation of heart function are provided with this test.

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram):

Monitoring the electrical activity of the heart is provided by this test. Recording is made with the help of conductive tips attached to certain parts of the body.

  • Chest Film:

Lung problems that cause the same symptoms as heart muscle inflammation can be detected by chest X-ray.

  • Holter:

It is a device that can be attached and removed from the patient in order to see the heart rhythm.

At the same time, with the help of a thin needle, a sample of pericardial fluid can be taken from the patient and sent for examination in the laboratory.

What are The Treatment Methods of Heart Muscle Inflammation (Myocarditis)?

If heart muscle inflammation has developed due to infection, drug treatment is applied in the first stage. These drugs, which are often taken orally, support heart muscle function and help prevent arrhythmia.

In addition, diuretic drugs can be given to facilitate urinary excretion, reduce edema, and increase excretion. In mild cases, adequate recovery is usually achieved with rest and medication.

Severe cases require hospitalization and treatment. In order to ensure the continuity of the treatment, vascular access is often opened during hospitalization and drugs are given in this way.

In severe inflammation, treatment modalities such as ventricular assist devices and aortic pumps may be required. Heart transplantation, which is the last treatment option, may be considered in patients who do not improve with other treatments.

For this reason, it is important for patients who show symptoms of myocarditis to go to the nearest health institution for early diagnosis and treatment and have their check-ups done.

What Should Myocarditis Patients Pay Attention To?

The doctor should use the drugs prescribed by the doctor regularly. Stress and activities that will tire the heart should be avoided and rested. Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided. However, he should pay attention to the nutrition plan and follow the doctor’s recommendations.

What are The Ways to Prevent  Myocarditis?

There are no special precautions for heart muscle inflammation, but it is important to prevent some infections. It is important to be protected from flu and similar diseases. Not being in the same environment as someone with the flu can be a precaution.

Good hand hygiene is the beginning of prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases should be protected. Make sure you have vaccinations for diseases such as rubella, flu, coronavirus, mumps, hepatitis B and A.

You should listen to your doctor’s warnings very carefully in the use of drugs that may be toxic to the heart, especially chemotherapy drugs, and you should definitely have your heart checks done.

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