Your First Steps after a Myocarditis Diagnosis

Doctor Listening To Heart Of PatientMyocarditis is an uncommon inflammatory disease, causing inflammation of the heart muscle that can limit your heart’s ability to pump blood. It can also result in fast or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). Severe myocarditis weakens your heart, preventing enough blood from reaching the rest of your body, and can lead to serious health problems like stroke or heart failure.

Myocarditis Foundation is passionate about spreading awareness about this disease and providing support for people affected by it. If you’ve recently been given a myocarditis diagnosis, here are some steps you can take to manage your condition.

Treatments for Myocarditis

Myocarditis can be caused by a variety of factors, including viruses, drug reactions, autoimmune diseases, parasites and more. Many times, myocarditis will resolve on its own. When recovery is not imminent, the treatment is supportive to allow your heart to rest and heal.

Although there is no one curative treatment for myocarditis, your doctor will tailor your treatment depending on the symptoms, severity, and underlying cause. Mild myocarditis may merely require rest and medicine, though chronic and severe myocarditis may necessitate more complex therapies. Possible treatment options include:

Medication

  • Corticosteroids, which help treat certain rare types of myocarditis like giant cell and eosinophilic myocarditis.
  • Heart medications to treat arrhythmia or reduced heart pump function, including:
    • Beta-blockers
    • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
    • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
    • Angiotensin receptor/neprolysin inhibitor combination medication (ARNI)
  • Medications to treat inflammatory diseases that can cause myocarditis, like lupus

Surgeries and Procedures

  • Pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD), which may be used to help treat slow or fast heart rhythms.
  • Ventricular assist devices (VAD), which are devices that help pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart to the rest of your body allowing your heart to rest.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which helps mimic the function of the lungs and also takes over the work of your heart.
  • Heart transplantation if necessary for severe myocarditis that does not respond to other treatments

Lifestyle Changes to Make Post-Diagnosis

Besides medical treatments, your doctor may also prescribe lifestyle changes or limitations so you can recover and stay healthy. Exercise is partly restricted after a myocarditis diagnosis until the condition resolves, usually for 3-6 months. A program for exercise should be carefully planned with your cardiologist, starting with cardiac rehabilitation to monitor activity when safe. Athletes who recover from acute myocarditis should usually be evaluated with an assessment of heart rhythm and an echocardiogram before resuming competitive sports.

Your doctor may also recommend adopting healthy habits or make lifestyle changes to support proper heart function and limit the chance of complications. These include:

  • Limiting salt
  • Restricting how much fluid you drink
  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding or quitting smoking

Contact Us Today to Learn More

Have you recently received a myocarditis diagnosis and are looking for more information and support? Myocarditis Foundation is dedicated to spreading information about myocarditis and providing resources for patients, families, researchers, and more. Contact us today to learn more post-diagnosis tips, or visit our FAQ page to get quick answers.