Diagnosis and treatment of pediatric viral myocarditis

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2001 Mar;16(2):77-83. doi: 10.1097/00001573-200103000-00001.


Acute myocarditis is characterized by the rapid development of life-threatening congestive heart failure and arrhythmias. Although the initial stages of this disorder apparently result from direct cytopathic effects on the atrial and ventricular myocardium, later stages of progressive decompensation may result from immune-mediated myocyte destruction. There has been recent improvement in understanding the role of this immunologic cascade. As a result, treatment now begins earlier in the course of the disease and can target both the virus and the immune response. Our ability to implement mechanical support in children as a bridge to transplant or recovery, even in children presenting in the final stages of their disease, has led to an improved outcome regarding morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Myocarditis / complications
  • Myocarditis / diagnosis*
  • Myocarditis / therapy*
  • Virus Diseases / complications
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Virus Diseases / therapy*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents