Before the emergence of the covid epidemic, myocarditis was a relatively rare disease, in 2017, for example, just over 3 million cases were diagnosed.
However, since viral infections, such as the coronavirus infection, are one of the most common causes of its development, dr. Gábor Mülleraccording to the cardiologist of the KardioKözpont, extra caution is necessary for those who have experienced covid.
Myocarditis can occur even after a mild covid infection
The name of myocarditis accurately describes the disease: it is inflammation of the heart muscles, as a result of which the heart may weaken and enlarge, scar tissue may form, and blood circulation may become increasingly difficult.
Myocarditis can develop for several reasons: it can be caused by bacteria and other infectious diseases, it can develop due to external environmental toxins, and very rarely, it can even be the result of autoimmune and tumor diseases. Most often, however, some kind of viral infection is the cause of the inflammation – which, however, can persist even after the infection.
This is also the case with covid, since in some cases the coronavirus infection can generally increase the tendency to inflammation by provoking an excessively strong immune response of the body. So even weeks or months after recovery, even with the mildest symptoms jThe pump function of the heart can also deteriorate in connection with severe covid infection and the ability to transmit electrical signals. Inflammation of the myocardium, or myocarditis, can therefore develop, which in a more serious form can even lead to heart rhythm disorders or heart failure.
From asymptomatic to chest pain
The recognition of myocarditis can be delayed by the fact that it often has no symptoms, and the complaints it causes are of a general nature. Most often, it is about the kind of complaints that can develop during any viral infection, since almost everyone feels more down and tired at this time. If symptoms do occur, they can often be attributed to the viral infection itself, or they can indicate any cardiovascular disease.
However, it is recommended to undergo a cardiology examination in case of the following complaints:
- prolonged exhaustion,
- feeling of strong and/or irregular heartbeat,
- feeling suggestive of cardiac arrhythmia,
- shortness of breath while moving and possibly while lying down,
- stabbing, pressing or uncertain chest pain,
- formation of edemas,
- joint pain,
- confusion, fainting.
In the case of a discovered disease, the recovery can be complete
– When we are researching the cause of the mentioned symptoms, or when checking known cardiology patients, it is important to know whether the patient has experienced covid and, if so, when. If there is a suspicion of myocarditis as a result of the coronavirus infection, different imaging methods may be needed for diagnosis. On the EKG, a on echocardiography in addition, there may be a need for a chest X-ray, rarely an MRI. If, based on all of this, it is confirmed that it is myocarditis, the most important thing to do is to rest and gradually reduce the load explains Dr. Gábor Müller, cardiologist at KardioKözpont. – In some cases, we can also prescribe drug treatment, since, for example, if the disease is caused by bacteria, antibiotics may be needed. In the case of a viral infection, anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, anticoagulants or anti-heart failure drugs may be considered. Most of the time, a full recovery can be expected, but especially in untreated cases, symptoms suggestive of heart failure, pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium) and cardiomyopathy (thinning of the heart muscle) can develop, which lead to a decrease in the pumping function of the heart and even heart failure, and in extreme cases can cause sudden cardiac death.
In addition to recognition and treatment, special attention must be paid to a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise – however, in the case of heart muscle damage after a viral infection, or if it is suspected, preferably after a preliminary cardiology assessment.
Source: Napidoktor by napidoktor.hu.
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