Myopericarditis: Etiology, management, and prognosis

Int J Cardiol. 2008 Jun 23;127(1):17-26. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2007.10.053. Epub 2008 Jan 24.


Acute pericarditis is often accompanied by some degree of myocarditis. In clinical practice both pericarditis and myocarditis coexist because they share common etiologic agents, mainly cardiotropic viruses. The term "myopericarditis" indicates a primarily "pericarditic syndrome" and it is responsible for the majority of cases. The clinical presentation is varied, reflecting the variability of myocardial involvement, that may be focal or diffuse, affecting any or all cardiac chambers. Probably many cases may be subclinical and subtle cardiac symptoms and signs may be overshadowed by the systemic manifestations of the viral infection. Echocardiography is essential for the diagnosis of left ventricular dysfunction in even subclinical cases and for follow-up of patients with apparently normal left ventricular function. Magnetic resonance imaging holds promise for an effective non-invasive diagnostic tool. Either for acute pericarditis or myopericarditis there is a lack for adequate controlled clinical trials. In myopericarditis the use of NSAID should be cautious, because in animal models of myocarditis, NSAID are not effective and may actually enhance the myocarditic process and increase mortality. In clinical practice lower anti-inflammatory doses are mainly considered to control symptoms. The natural history of myopericarditis in large populations is not known with accuracy. On follow-up, the majority of these cases had objective normalization of echocardiography, electrocardiography, laboratory testing, and functional status, although up to 14% may report atypical, non-limiting chest discomfort. Unfortunately, few data have been published on myopericarditis, the paper reviews current available evidence on the presentation, management, and prognosis of myopericarditis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Myocarditis / diagnosis
  • Myocarditis / drug therapy*
  • Myocarditis / etiology*
  • Pericarditis / diagnosis
  • Pericarditis / drug therapy*
  • Pericarditis / etiology*
  • Prognosis


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Ibuprofen