What is Myocarditis & Sudden Death?
Myocarditis (myo=muscle; card=heart; itis=inflammation), or heart muscle inflammation, is usually caused by viral infection that attacks the heart. This disease is characterized by enlargement of the heart and poor function (i.e., the heart contracts badly), leading to heart failure. In some affected persons, sudden death occurs. Myocarditis causes death in 30-70% of children, depending on their age (worst in younger children less than 1 year of age). In others, heart transplantation is needed. In the remainder of children, improvement or normalization is seen.
Diagnosis and treatment of Myocarditis has been slow to develop. Using scientific methods, the diagnostic approaches are now being developed and this will allow specific treatments to be invented, leading to better care and survival.