What is myocarditis?
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardium, the thick muscular layer making up the major portion of your heart. The condition can result in vague chest pain, an abnormal heartbeat, congestive heart failure and other signs and symptoms. The myocardium is the muscular wall of the heart, or the heart muscle. It contracts to pump blood out of the heart and then
relaxes as the heart refills with returning blood. The myocardium's smooth outer membrane is called the epicardium. Its inner lining is called the endocardium.
When this uncommon condition is severe enough, the pumping action of your heart weakens and your heart is unable to supply the rest of your body with enough oxygen-rich blood. Clots can form as well, potentially leading to a stroke or heart attack.
Myocarditis may develop as a complication of an infectious disease, usually caused by a virus. It can occur in people of all ages and is diagnosed more often in men than in women. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Many cases are attributed to ‘auto-immunity’, a condition in which the body reacts against itself. This is similar to what can happen in some cases of thyroid disorders and a variety of other diseases. Auto-immune myocarditis may be triggered by a virus infection such as the Coxsackie B virus. There is often a two week delay between contracting the initial virus and inflammation of the heart muscle.