Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your doctor suspects myocarditis, he or she may also order one or more tests in addition to asking you questions and examining you to make a diagnosis of myocarditis and determine the severity of your condition, including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This noninvasive test shows your heart's electrical patterns and can detect abnormal rhythms, as well as a weakened or damaged heart muscle.
  • Holter monitor. If your doctor can't detect any problems with your heart during an electrocardiogram, he or she may recommend you wear a Holter monitor for a few days. A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that records your heart rhythm. During that time, the device will record all of your heartbeats.
  • Chest X-ray. An X-ray image of your chest allows your doctor to check the size and shape of your heart, as well as look for fluid in or around the heart that might indicate heart failure.
  • MRI. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will show your heart's size, shape and structure. This test can show signs of inflammation of the heart muscle and help make or confirm a diagnosis of myocarditis.
  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves, or ultrasound, can create moving images of the beating heart. An echocardiogram may detect enlargement of your heart, poor pumping function, valve problems or fluid around your heart.
  • Blood tests. These tests measure white and red blood cell counts, as well as levels of certain enzymes that indicate damage to your heart muscle. Blood tests can also detect antibodies against viruses and other organisms that may mean you have a myocarditis-related infection.
  • Cardiac catheterization and endomyocardial biopsy. In this test, a small tube (catheter) is inserted into a vein in your leg or neck and then is threaded into your heart. A special instrument can remove a tiny sample of heart muscle tissue (biopsy) for analysis in the laboratory to see if there are signs of inflammation or infection.
May. 02, 2012