COMBATING INFECTION: Muscle up your knowledge of myocarditis

October 2004 
Volume 34  Number 10
Pages 17 - 17
  PDF Version Available!


  • Recognizing signs and symptoms

  • Testing the diagnosis

  • Nursing considerations

  • What triggers myocarditis?

    AN INFLAMMATION of the myocardium, myocarditis is typically triggered by an enterovirus such as coxsackievirus, although many other possible causes have been identified (see What Triggers Myocarditis? ). Researchers believe that after the initial infection subsides, an autoimmune response prolongs the inflammatory process, damaging the heart muscle. Although myocarditis is usually mild and self-limiting, it can lead to arrhythmias, pericarditis, chronic dilated cardiomyopathy, and heart failure.

    Recognizing signs and symptoms

    A patient with a mild case of myo-carditis may have only vague symptoms consistent with a viral infection such as headache, myalgia, and fatigue. But some patients report chest pain, which they may describe as a sharp and stabbing precordial pain, or as a substernal, ...

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