What is Myocarditis?

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, usually following a recent virus or experiencing flu-like symptoms.



  • General fatigue and breathlessness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness and fainting


It is common to feel a sensation or tightness in the chest either at rest or when active. These symptoms are like the chest discomfort experienced when having a heart attack.

If you find you have these symptoms, please seek medical attention.

How is Myocarditis diagnosed?

Your cardiologist will examine you and take your health history.

  • Any history of autoimmune disease
  • Exposure to toxins/drugs
  • If you have recently given birth
  • Along with the initial assessment of an electrocardiograph (ECG) to check your heart rate and rhythm.
  • Blood tests to check for heart muscle damage and inflammation.
  • Chest x-ray
  • Echocardiogram to look at the structure of your heart.
  • An MRI and Coronary angiogram may be required to rule out other cardiac causes.

How is Myocarditis treated?

The treatment depends on your symptoms and the cause of them.

Treatment may include:

  • Analgesia
  • Rest and hydration
  • Medication to calm the inflammation.
  • Antibiotics if a bacterial infection is the cause of the myocarditis.

In extreme cases, myocarditis can scar the heart muscle, which may lead to the heart not pumping as well as it should.

Questions to ask your cardiologist

What is my follow-up plan?

How should I manage the symptoms?

How and when can I exercise?

When can I return to work?

It’s important to take the time to recover from myocarditis. While this may seem frustrating, better outcomes are experienced if the advice provided is adhered to.

Support is vital, so please do reach out and discuss the diagnosis options and plan to return to wellness with your friends and family.

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Ascot Hospital, Level 3
90 Greenlane East
Remuera, Auckland 1051
PO Box 17264,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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