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Acute myocarditis

Batra, Anjan S. MD; Lewis, Alan B. MD

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: June 2001 - Volume 13 - Issue 3 - p 234-239
Emergency and critical care pediatrics

Myocarditis is defined as inflammation of the myocardium accompanied by myocellular necrosis. Acute myocarditis must be considered in patients who present with recent onset of cardiac failure or arrhythmia. Often there is a history of an antecedent flu-like illness. Fulminant myocarditis is a distinct entity characterized by sudden onset of severe congestive heart failure or cardiogenic shock, usually following a flu-like illness. Giant cell myocarditis is a rare, frequently fatal disorder of unknown origin characterized by presence of giant cell inflammatory infiltrate in the myocardium. In recent years we have made good progress in understanding the causes, pathogenesis, natural history, diagnosis, and treatment of myocarditis. However, our knowledge is still far from complete. New information that extends our understanding of myocarditis is being reported constantly. This review summarizes recent advances in myocarditis, with an emphasis on the literature during the last year.

Division of Cardiology, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California Los Angeles, California, USA.

Correspondence to Alan B. Lewis, MD, Division of Cardiology, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, MS #34 4650 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA, e-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.