Viral myocarditis--diagnosis, treatment options, and current controversies

Nat Rev Cardiol. 2015 Nov;12(11):670-80. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2015.108. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


Myocarditis--a frequent cause of dilated cardiomyopathy and sudden cardiac death--typically results from cardiotropic viral infection followed by active inflammatory destruction of the myocardium. Characterization of this disease has been hampered by its heterogeneous clinical presentations and diverse aetiologies. Advances in cardiac MRI and molecular detection of viruses by endomyocardial biopsy have improved our ability to diagnose and understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of this elusive disease. However, therapeutic options are currently limited for both the acute and chronic phases of myocarditis. Several randomized, controlled trials have demonstrated potential benefit with immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapies, but further investigations are warranted. In this Review, we explore the pathophysiology, natural history, and modes of diagnosis of myocarditis, as well as evidence-based treatment strategies. As novel imaging techniques and human in vitro models of the disease emerge, the landscape of therapies for myocarditis is poised to improve.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Myocarditis / diagnosis*
  • Myocarditis / physiopathology
  • Myocarditis / therapy*
  • Myocarditis / virology*
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Virus Diseases / physiopathology
  • Virus Diseases / therapy*


  • Antiviral Agents