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Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. It can be mild to severe. Chest pains, heart failure, arrhythmia and fever and other signs of an underlying infection are common signs and symptoms of myocarditis. Mild cases of myocarditis may occur with few signs or symptoms. On the other hand, sudden death can result with myocarditis.

Causes of Myocarditis

In the U.S., myocarditis is most often caused by a viral infection. Many viruses can result in myocarditis if they infect the heart muscle, including viruses that cause respiratory infections, flu, herpes, hepatitis and HIV. Auto-immune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause myocarditis.

Other potential causes include bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections, allergic reactions, toxins and drug abuse.


Myocarditis due to bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Viral infections cannot be treated directly, so management of symptoms and possibly managing immune reactions are options for treating viral myocarditis. Patients with myocarditis may also receive drugs to help the heart do its work, such as drugs to blood pressure lowering medication, diuretics to remove extra water from the body, and other medications to help your heart.

If myocarditis is severe, the use of a mechanical heart pump, artificial heart, or even a heart transplant may be necessary.

To reduce your risk of developing myocarditis, reduce your chances of infection by practicing good hygiene, keeping your teeth clean, and getting proper immunizations. Also, avoid IV drug use and unsafe sex.


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