DefinitionMyocarditis is an inflammation of the heart’s muscle. It is rare. Myocarditis can occur with no symptoms and remain undiagnosed.
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CausesIn most children, the condition is often caused by a viral infection. Other potential causes include:
- Certain medications
- Autoimmune disorders
- Infections by bacteria, parasites, or fungus
Risk FactorsThere are no known risk factors for developing myocarditis.
SymptomsSome children may have no symptoms. Those who do may have a variety symptoms that can appear slowly or come on suddenly. Children older than 2 years old may have fewer symptoms than babies.Symptoms may include:
- Flu-like complaints, including fever, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea , and weakness
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Swelling of the face, feet, or legs
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased urine output
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. There is no specific test for myocarditis. The diagnosis can usually be made based on the history, physical exam, and test results.Your child's bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood tests
TreatmentYour child will need bed rest. Physical activity should be avoided. Myocarditis may be relieved by treating the underlying cause if possible:
- Antibiotics may be given for a bacterial infection
- Antiviral agents may be given if a virus in involved
- Immunosuppressive or immunoglobulin therapy may be used if an autoimmune disorder is involved
PreventionTo help prevent viral or bacterial infections, practice good hygiene. For example, have your child wash his or her hands regularly.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Myocarditis. Seattle Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/heart-blood-conditions/myocarditis/#. Accessed November 5, 2014
Myocarditis.Children's Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/myocarditis/about#.VFpiuWd3eM0. Updated September 1, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Myocarditis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 6, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2014.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014
- Update Date: 12/20/2014