Symptoms of Myocarditis
The symptoms caused by myocarditis can vary wildly and can be caused either by the inflammation itself, or by the weakening of the heart muscle. Symptoms caused by the inflammation:
- Subfebrile temperature (no more than 38 degree Celsius)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms caused by damage to the heart muscle:
- Chest pain that is characterized as pressing or stabbing.
- Palpitations are abnormal heart beats which can be felt by the patient. Palpitations are caused by arrhythmias, which in turn are caused by the damage to electrical conduction system of the heart.
- Congestive heart failure. This condition occurs when the heart is unable to maintain blood flow to meet the demands of the body. Depending on whether the heart failure is left-sided or right-sided, the symptoms will vary. The symptoms of left-sided heart failure are caused by the pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the alveoli) and usually include:
- Cough that may produce blood-tinged or frothy mucus.
- Shortness of breath – caused by an increased blood pressure in the pulmonary veins.
- Difficulty lying down – since this increases the blood pressure within the pulmonary vasculature even further, worsening the shortness of breath. Due to this the person will repeatedly wake up throughout the night and can only sleep with elevated head and shoulders. This condition is also known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.
- Fatigue, weakness, and faintness – all due to lack of oxygen within the blood stream.
- Right-sided congestive heart failure. This condition occurs when the right side of the heart loses its ability to pump blood to a certain degree, increasing the blood pressure within the veins of the whole body. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Peripheral edema – accumulation of liquid primarily in the interstitial spaces (mostly below the skin) of the legs. This happens since the gravity pulls the blood down, increasing the blood pressure in the veins of the legs even further. This condition causes the person to have nocturia (frequent urination during the night), as the fluids retained in legs return to the bloodstream.
- Ascites – accumulation of liquid in the peritoneal cavity. This condition is usually treated using paracentesis – a direct removal of the fluid using a needle.
- Hepatomegaly – enlargement of liver, which can result in jaundice and coagulopathy (decreased blood clotting), since the liver is responsible for production of many factors needed for blood clotting.