In mild cases, myocarditis may have no noticeable symptoms. You may feel ill and have general symptoms of a viral infection and never realize your heart is affected.
In serious cases, the signs and symptoms of myocarditis vary, depending on the cause of the disease. Common myocarditis symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- A rapid or abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Shortness of breath, at rest or during physical activity
- Fluid retention with swelling of your legs, ankles and feet
- Other signs and symptoms you'd have with a viral infection, such as a headache, body aches, joint pain, fever, a sore throat or diarrhea
Myocarditis in children
When children develop myocarditis, they may have these signs and symptoms:
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid breathing
- Bluish or grayish discoloration of the skin
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms of myocarditis, particularly chest pain and shortness of breath. If you've had an infection, be alert for the symptoms of myocarditis and let your doctor know if they occur. If you have severe symptoms, go to the emergency room or call for emergency medical personnel.
May. 02, 2012
- Kindermann I, et al. Update on myocarditis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2012;59:779.
- Cooper LT. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of myocarditis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 14, 2012.
- Schultz JC, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of viral myocarditis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2009;84:1001.
- Schultheiss HP, et al. The management of myocarditis. European Heart Journal. 2011;32:2616.
- Allan CK, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of myocarditis in children. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 14, 2012.
- Cooper LT. Etiology and pathogenesis of myocarditis. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 14, 2012.