What Is Myopericarditis?
The myopericarditis Karlow experienced is a combination of two related conditions: “Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscles, and pericarditis is an inflammation of the membrane that covers the heart,” explains Sandra Chaparro, M.D., a cardiologist at Baptist Health’s Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute.
The inflammation is most often caused by a virus that has traveled through the bloodstream to the heart, Dr. Chaparro says. The virus can be a simple cold, flu, or stomach bug, or it can be something more serious: According to the CDC, among patients seen in a hospital setting, those with COVID-19 had nearly 16 times the risk of myocarditis of those who didn’t have COVID.
“In the majority of cases, myocarditis and pericarditis will resolve on their own without any treatment other than rest and Tylenol,” Dr. Chaparro says. “But in some cases there can be more significant damage and the patient may need to be treated with medication such as steroids to decrease inflammation. In very rare cases, if there has been severe damage, it might require surgery or even a transplant.”
SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE
► Sharp chest pain
► Shortness of breath
► Heart palpitations
► General weakness
► Pain in the back, neck, or left shoulder