WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the muscle of your heart (myocardium). The myocardium pumps blood through the heart and to other parts of the body. With myocarditis, the heart muscle can become damaged. This weakens the heart and makes it work harder. Over time, this may cause your heart to enlarge, lead to heart failure, and become life-threatening.
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Myocarditis may change how you are able to function and decrease your quality of life. Surgery and devices for myocarditis may increase the chances for a heart infection or bleeding. With or without treatment, your heart may continue to weaken and may fail. This may decrease blood flow and oxygen to organs, such as your brain and kidneys. It may cause fluid to build up in your lungs, and make it difficult to breathe. Myocarditis, along with these symptoms, may become life-threatening.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
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Keep the head of your bed raised to help you breathe easier. You can also raise your head and shoulders up on pillows or rest in a reclining chair. If you feel short of breath, let caregivers know right away.
Healthcare providers may have you eat foods low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats. You may also need to eat foods low in sodium (salt) to help protect your heart.
Intake and output:
Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.
- Antibiotics or antivirals may be given to help treat or prevent an infection.
- Blood pressure medicine helps lower your blood pressure and protect your organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys.
- Diuretics are given to decrease edema (excess fluid) that collects in a part of your body, such as your legs. Diuretics can also remove excess fluid from around your heart or lungs and decrease your blood pressure. It is often called water pills. You may urinate more often when you take this medicine.
- Heart medicine is given to strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.
- Pain medicine may be given to decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Immune globulin may help your immune system fight infection.
- Immunosuppressants prevent the immune system from attacking your body.
- Blood tests will show if you have damage to the heart muscle, immune antibodies to the heart, or an infection. It may also show the level of oxygen in your blood.
- An EKG test records your heart rhythm and how fast your heart beats. It is used to check for an abnormal heart rhythm or damage to your heart.
- A chest x-ray shows the size of your heart. It may also show if you have fluid around your heart or lungs.
- An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound. It shows the structure, movement, and valves and blood vessels of your heart.
- An MRI takes pictures of your heart to show its size and check for any inflammation. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
- Nuclear imaging uses radioactive dye injected into a blood vessel to show how your heart is working. The dye helps your healthcare provider see the pictures of your heart and blood vessels better. It may also show if you have inflammation or immune antibodies damaging your heart.
- Cardiac catheterization is a procedure to find the cause of and treat a heart condition. A thin, flexible tube is inserted into a vein in your arm, neck, or groin and moved into your heart. Contrast dye may used so the pictures show up better on a monitor.
- A biopsy is a small sample of your heart muscle. It will be sent to a lab to find the cause of your myocarditis.
- Breathing support , such as extra oxygen or a ventilator, may help you breathe easier and increase oxygen levels in your blood.
- A heart device may be placed in your chest. It can help your heart beat and control your heart rate.
- A heart transplant may be needed in rare cases if your condition is severe.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.