Each year, thousands of people in the U.S. are diagnosed with myocarditis. Yet myocarditis is still considered a rare disease, and many individuals struggle to find reliable information about its causes, symptoms and treatment. If you or a loved one have been recently diagnosed with myocarditis, the Myocarditis Foundation can offer some information to help you through your myocarditis journey and hopefully provide you some peace of mind. For further information, please contact us at 281-713-2962 to speak with someone at the Myocarditis Foundation.
Approaches to Treatment
Myocarditis refers to the swelling of the heart muscle in response to several causes. Most commonly, this inflammation is the result of a viral infection, although bacterial infections and exposure to toxins, among other things, can also contribute. Likewise, giant cell myocarditis occurs in a small number of individuals that may be caused by autoimmune disorders or adverse reactions to medications. There is no cure at present for either type of myocarditis. Physicians treat the disease’s symptoms, which can include tachycardia, arrhythmias and heart failure. In some cases, however, an autoimmune disorder may be treated alongside cardiac symptoms to support recovery.
Common Myocarditis Treatments
Your physician will likely admit you to the hospital for treatment after a myocarditis diagnosis. This is especially common in children, who are typically admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit.
If the heart is severely weakened, medical devices can help restore proper functioning. These include defibrillators, ventricular assist devices (VADs), which pump blood throughout the heart’s chambers and the body, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, which filter carbon dioxide from the blood and add oxygen.
While these medications and devices may help alleviate cardiac symptoms, a transplant may be required when damage is too extensive for the heart to heal. In these situations, these treatments help stabilize the heart until an appropriate donor organ becomes available.
Some patients are able to fully recover from myocarditis, while others will experience long-lasting symptoms of myocarditis. Your physician may ask you to avoid competitive sports and other intense exercises for a time after diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, lifestyle changes are often recommended, including:
- A low-sodium diet
- Limited fluid intake
- Elimination of alcohol
- Smoking cessation
While many individuals require a short course of cardiovascular medications, others will need to take these medicines for life. You can also expect regular follow-up exams and tests to monitor your condition.
Learn More About Myocarditis Treatment
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with myocarditis, it’s important to understand your treatment options. To learn more, contact the Myocarditis Foundation today. With a wealth of research and answers to frequently asked questions, we’re committed to supporting your health as we work toward a cure for myocarditis.