Inflammatory Heart Disease

Inflammatory Heart Disease and Myocarditis Treatment

Specialists at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute provide the highest quality of care for patients with inflammatory heart disease to fight the underlying infection, restore healthy heart rhythm, relieve symptoms and effectively reduce long-term heart damage.


Make an Appointment with a Cardiovascular Specialist

To make an appointment with a UH inflammatory heart disease expert, call 216-844-3800.

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What is Heart Inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s response to infection or injury. It can affect many areas of the body and is a cause of many major diseases including cancer, ischemic heart disease and autoimmune conditions.

When irritants such as bacteria, a chemical or virus reach your heart muscle, you may experience inflammation of the heart, or a heart infection. Such an infection can cause damage to or inflammation of the lining of the heart, valves, outer membrane or the heart muscle itself.

Types of Heart Infections

There are three primary types of heart infections:


Heart Inflammation Symptoms

Symptoms you may experience depend on the type of heart infection, and include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially after exercise or when lying down
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Swelling in the hands, legs, ankles and feet
  • Red spots under the fingernails
  • Purple or red spots on the skin
  • Sudden loss of consciousness

Diagnosing Heart Inflammation

Advanced heart imaging techniques help your doctor determine the location, cause and type of heart infection.


Heart Inflammation Treatment Options

The type of heart infection you have as well as its cause will help guide how our heart specialists determine treatment.

Antibiotics, heart medications, corticosteroids and drugs that reduce inflammation can usually treat and resolve minor inflammatory heart disease. However, if your case is more serious, advanced treatments may be recommended, such as:


Heart inflammation and COVID-19

COVID-19 is known to cause cardiovascular problems in some patients, one of which is myocarditis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows patients with COVID-19 have nearly 16 times the risk of myocarditis compared to patients without COVID-19.

Myocarditis related to COVID-19 is most common in young men and teenage boys. The vast majority of these myocarditis cases are asymptomatic or mild, and patients recover without treatment.

Myocarditis related to the COVID-19 vaccine is an extremely rare side effect – an incidence of about 2 in 100,000 people, according to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The benefit of vaccination vastly outweighs the risk of heart inflammation.


Preventing Heart Inflammation

There are certain lifestyle choices that can help you prevent inflammatory heart disease and the risks of heart damage associated with it:

  • Follow good hygiene
  • Stay current on vaccines
  • Treat chest infections such as pneumonia promptly
  • Get evaluated by a doctor for autoimmune conditions

UH Health Talk: Inflammatory Heart Disease

In this webinar, UH cardiologist Sadeer Al-Kindi, MD, shares information on heart inflammation, including risk factors, symptoms, treatment options and prevention.

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Meet the UH heart and vascular experts who treat myocarditis and other inflammatory heart disease conditions.