Everything You Need To Know About Myocarditis
Diagnosis of Myocarditis
Doctors may recommend the following tests to diagnose myocarditis:
Blood Tests: These tests check for signs of infection, heart attack, and inflammation. Antibody blood tests are done to determine any infection linked to myocarditis. Doctors will also prescribe cardiac enzyme tests to check for proteins related to heart muscle damage.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This quick and painless test illustrates the rhythm of the heartbeat. This test can determine any irregularity of heartbeats (arrhythmias).
Chest X-Ray: It displays the size and shape of the heart and lungs. The test also determines if there is fluid in or around the heart.
Heart MRI (Cardiac MRI): It is a test that involves the creation of detailed heart images (size, shape, structure, and any signs of heart muscle inflammation) with the help of magnetic fields and radio waves.
Echocardiogram: The test involves creating moving images of the beating heart using sound waves. It displays the size of the heart and how well blood flows through the heart and heart valves. This device is also helpful in determining any fluid around the heart.
Cardiac Catheterization and Heart Muscle Biopsy: The doctor threads a thin tube (catheter) through a blood vessel in the arm or groin to an artery in the heart. This dye flows through the catheter and helps heart (coronary) arteries highlight more clearly on X-rays. The doctor will only take a tiny sample of heart muscle tissue (biopsy) during this test. After that, this sample is sent to a lab for inflammation or infection testing.
Treatment of Myocarditis
In most cases, myocarditis tends to improve on its own. Some cases may require treatment. Treatment for Myocarditis treatment is primarily aimed at determining the condition's cause and symptoms.
Rest and medication are prescribed for patients with myocarditis. The prescribed medications for treating myocarditis may include Corticosteroids, Heart medications, and Medications to treat chronic conditions.
Some patients may need medications only for a few months, after which they recover fully. Others need lifelong medication for treating long-term, permanent heart damage.
Surgeries and Procedures
If you have severe myocarditis, you will need aggressive treatment, which might include the following:
- IV Medications: Doctors will administer medications to patients using an IV to speed up the ability of the heart to pump.
- Ventricular Assist Device (VAD): The device assists in the process of blood pumping from the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) toward the rest of the body. The treatment is prescribed for weak heart or heart failure to facilitate the proper functioning of the heart while waiting for other treatments (heart transplant).
- Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump: This device aims to improve blood flow to the heart and reduce strain. The cardiologist inserts a catheter into a blood vessel in the leg and guides it to the heart. After that, the specialist will attach a balloon to the end of the catheter. It will inflate and deflate the primary artery from the heart to the body.
- Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO): The machine functions similarly to the lungs, eliminates carbon dioxide, and adds oxygen to the blood. It is mainly used in the case of severe heart failure. During this test, the doctor will eliminate blood from the body through ECMO and then return it to the body.
- Heart Transplant: This is an urgent treatment procedure for those with severe myocarditis.
Living with Myocarditis
Patients must take ample time to rest, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The condition can affect individuals of any age. It can affect even individuals who were fit and healthy before. Staying in touch with a doctor and following their instructions can help with a fast recovery and a healthy life ahead.
Vigorous exercises should be avoided for at least 3-6 months after diagnosing myocarditis.
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