Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose myocarditis, your doctor may conduct a physical examination, and discuss your medical history and any signs or symptoms you may have. If your doctor suspects myocarditis, he or she might order one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis 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.
  • 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 might 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 might 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. In some cases, doctors use a special instrument to remove a tiny sample of heart muscle tissue (biopsy) for analysis in the lab to see if there are signs of inflammation or infection.
Oct. 24, 2015