Myocarditis natural history, complications and prognosis
Myocarditis natural history, complications and prognosis On the Web
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Myocarditis is usually self limiting and is associated with a good prognosis especially if it is secondary to a viral infection. Patients rarely develop cardiac failure, pulmonary edema, arrhythmias, or cardiogenic shock. In some instances, myocarditis may be associated with sudden death. Patients with fulminant myocarditis have a good long term prognosis if they survive the acute phase of the disease. The prognosis of fulminant myocarditis is better than that of either acute myocarditis or giant cell myocarditis. The presence of left bundle branch block, q waves, AV block, syncope and a left ventricular ejection fraction < 40% are associated with sudden death and cardiac transplantation.
The course of viral myocarditis is usually benign and the majority of cases of Coxsackie B virus infection are subclinical. Patients presenting with mild ventricular dysfunction secondary to viral myocarditis typically improve within weeks to months and rarely progress to severe ventricular dysfunction, heart block, arrhythmias, or even sudden cardiac death. Among patients who present with more advanced left ventricular dysfunction; 50% of patients develop chronic ventricular dysfunction and 25% have spontaneous improvement in ventricular function while the remaining 25% progress to transplantation or death.
- Chronic dilated cardiomyopathy
- Heart block
- Congestive heart failure
- Ventricular dysfunction
- Sudden cardiac death
An endomyocardial biopsy is usually obtained in patients presenting with advanced heart failure or arrhythmias. Endomyocardial biopsy can shed light on the prognosis by ascertaining the underlying cause and the histopathologic severity of the disease.
Fas and Fas-ligand
Persistence of the Viral Genome
Giant Cell Myocarditis
Prognostic Implications of EKG Changes
Despite its worrisome appearance, ST segment elevation suggestive of myocardial infarction is usually self-limited with no overt sequelae. In contrast, the presence of either left bundle branch block, q waves suggestive of old infarct or high degree AV block is associated with a poor long term prognosis, development of cardiac failure and the need for cardiac transplantation.
Clinical Predictors of Prognosis
The development of syncope, bundle branch block, ejection fraction <40%, and pulmonary hypertension are known to be poor predictors of myocarditis and are associated with death or cardiac transplantation.
Prognosis Associated with Left Ventricular Dysfunction
The prognosis in patients with new onset heart failure depends on the degree of ventricular dysfunction. The majority of myocarditis patients recover well with treatment. However, approximately 25% of patients develop chronic ventricular dysfunction and 25% of patients will continue to deteriorate.
Prognosis Associated with Fulminant Myocarditis vs Acute Myocarditis
In a small series of 15 patients with fulminant myocarditis, 14(93%) survived for 11 years without the need for cardiac transplantation. This suggests that patients with fulminant myocarditis have a good long term prognosis if they survive the acute phase of the disease. In the same series, 132 patients met the criteria for acute myocarditis and 60(45%) of these patients were alive at the end of 11 years without having received a cardiac transplant.
High levels of interleukin-10 in fulminant myocarditis patients at admission may be predictive of subsequent development of cardiogenic shock (requiring mechanical cardiopulmonary support system) and mortality.
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