Combining attentive, compassionate care with our extensive clinical and research resources, UT Southwestern's cardiology experts and vascular specialists deliver individualized care within pre-eminent health care facilities.
The skilled cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center diagnose and care for people with myocarditis, an infection of the middle layer of the heart’s muscular wall.
Combining expertise and experience with the latest science-based tools and treatments, our specialized heart doctors evaluate and treat myocarditis with medication and lifestyle change recommendations.
Specialized Treatment for Heart Inflammation
Myocarditis is a condition in which the myocardium – the muscular middle layer of the heart’s three layers of tissue – becomes inflamed. The myocardium is responsible for contracting to pump blood throughout the body and then relaxing as the heart refills with returning blood.
UT Southwestern’s experienced cardiologists carefully diagnose and treat myocarditis. Our team of experts works closely with patients and their families to choose the most appropriate treatment to improve quality of life.
Causes of MyocarditisMyocarditis can be caused by conditions that include:
- Infection (viral, bacterial, or fungal)
- Rheumatic fever
- Drug or chemical poisoning
Symptoms of Myocarditis
Symptoms of myocarditis include:
- Symptoms similar to
those of cold or flu, such as fever, chest ache, and fatigue
- Trouble breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythms, which can lead to fainting, joint pain, or swelling of the legs due to fluid
- Cardiac scar tissue, which can lead to congestive heart failure
UT Southwestern cardiologists might perform several tests to diagnose myocarditis, which can be difficult to detect. Common diagnostic tests include:
- Blood test: To look
for signs of inflammation and the presence of antibodies targeting the heart
- Chest X-ray: To look for fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary
edema), which can indicate heart failure
- Echocardiography (echo or cardiac ultrasound): To see the
size and cycles of the heart and determine if the heart muscle is weak, the
heart is enlarged, or fluid is present around the heart
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): To assess the heart rhythm to determine
the size and function of the atria and ventricles (upper and lower chambers of
- Stethoscope examination:
To listen for a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Biopsy of heart muscle: A tissue sample to determine if the heart is infected (rare)
Treatments for myocarditis include:
- Analgesics or
anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain
- Antibiotics to treat
- Diuretics to remove
fluid from the lungs and legs
- Low-salt diet to help prevent fluid buildup
UT Southwestern’s cardiac rehabilitation specialists create customized plans that integrate proper nutrition, exercise, and, if necessary, nicotine cessation into patients’ lifestyles to improve their cardiovascular health.