ABSTRACT: Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease of the heart frequently resulting from viral infections and/or post-viral immune-mediated responses. It is one of the important causes of dilated cardiomyopathy worldwide. The diagnosis is presumed on clinical presentation and noninvasive diagnostic methods such as cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. Endomyocardial biopsy remains the gold standard for in vivo diagnosis of myocarditis. The therapeutic and prognostic benefits of endomyocardial biopsy results have recently been demonstrated in several clinical trials. Although remarkable advances in diagnosis, understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms, and treatment of acute myocarditis were gained during the last years, no standard treatment strategies could be defined as yet, apart from standard heart failure therapy and physical rest. In severe cases, mechanical support or heart transplantation may become necessary. There is some evidence that immunosuppressive and immunomodulating therapy are effective for chronic, virus-negative inflammatory cardiomyopathy. Further investigations by controlled, randomized studies are needed to definitively determine their role in the treatment of myocarditis.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 02/2012; 59(9):779-92. · 14.16 Impact Factor