Myocarditis in a child: diagnosis, symptoms and treatment. Children's Cardiology Center
Myocarditis in a child is relatively often diagnosed in modern medical practice. It should immediately be said that this ailment is dangerous and in the absence of treatment can lead to serious complications. That's why many parents are interested in information about this disease. Why such a malady develops even in infants and what symptoms need to be paid attention? What does the therapy look like and what are the predictions for the young patients?
Features and characteristics of the disease
The term "myocarditis" refers to a disease that is accompanied by an inflammation in the heart muscle. This ailment is diagnosed in patients of different ages. Myocarditis in a child or adolescent can hardly be regarded as a rare case.
Causes of inflammatory myocardial damage can be very different, ranging from penetration into the tissue of infection and ending with severe allergic reactions and intoxications. Quite often the inflammation covers not only the heart muscle, but also adjacent structures, including pericardium, vessels and other organs.
The main causes of myocarditis
It is believed that inflammation of the heart muscle can be associated with almost any known form of infection:
- In most cases, the "culprits" of myocarditis are viruses - adenoviruses, Coxsackie enteroviruses, as well as parvoviruses, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis and influenza viruses.
- Inflammation of the myocardium sometimes also has a bacterial origin. The disease develops on the background of tuberculosis, brucellosis, bacterial meningitis. Inflammatory process appears when the streptococcal infection is activated.
- The defeat of the body with rickettsia often leads to inflammation of the heart muscle. The risk factors include Ku-fever, typhus, fever of the rocky mountains.
- Pathogenic fungi, in particular, fungi of the genus Candida, can act as pathogens.
- There are also protozoal myocarditis, developing against the background of toxoplasmosis, malaria, leishmaniasis.
- Helminthes( echinococci, trichinella) also provoke an inflammatory process.
- There is also toxic myocarditis, caused by ingestion of arsenic, mercury, carbon monoxide into the body.
- Sometimes the disease develops on the background of taking medications, after vaccination or the introduction of serums.
- The risk factors include snake bites and insects.
- Physical exposure, for example, severe hypothermia, overheating, exposure to ionizing radiation also provokes an inflammatory process.
- Among other risk factors include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and some other autoimmune diseases.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why myocarditis develops. Diagnosis should include the search for a primary disease, because the success of therapy depends on this.
Forms and varieties of the disease
There are several classification schemes for this disease. Above we have already considered the variants of the development of the disease depending on the cause. But during the diagnosis, specialists pay attention to other factors:
- When it comes to the course of the disease, myocarditis can be acute, chronic or subacute.
- Depending on the degree of severity, the ailment can be mild, moderate or severe.
- The doctor also pays attention to clinical manifestations - children can notice a typical form of inflammation, as well as an erased and asymptomatic form.
- The extent of the inflammatory process is also important - in this case the focal( isolated, single site of inflammation) and diffuse myocarditis( the pathology extends to the entire muscle) is isolated.
How does myocarditis develop in children? The main stages of
Myocarditis in a child develops in several stages - in modern medicine there are three:
- The stage of viremia - viral particles( or other pathogens) enter the myocardium. First they are fixed on the surface of muscle cells, and then penetrate into the myocytes. At this stage, the activation of the immune system is observed, which is accompanied by increased synthesis and release of interferon.
- An autoimmune stage in which the immune cellular response is significantly enhanced and the level of anticardium antibodies that accumulate in the myocardium increases, adversely affecting its functioning. Mediators of inflammation are activated at the same stage. There is damage to microvessels.
- If the course of the disease is favorable, then there is a reduction in edema and the formation of fibrotic areas on the heart muscle. If the therapy did not yield positive results( or was completely absent), the illness turns into a chronic form. With chronic inflammation, complications gradually develop, including heart failure, cardiomegaly, cardiosclerosis.
The process of diagnosis and examination of the child helps the doctor to find out the form of the disease, its causes, and also the stage of development - only after obtaining these data can a truly effective regimen of treatment be made.
Symptoms of the disease in the newborn
Symptoms of the disease depend on many factors - here it is worth taking the age of the child, the origin and form of the disease. The most severe myocarditis in newborns. The kid slowly gaining weight, becomes drowsy and inactive, because even the process of feeding it is very tiring. The skin of the child is pale, often acquires a gray shade.
Another symptom is shortness of breath. First, it appears during periods of activity - the baby quickly and heavily breathes during dressing, bathing, defecation, feeding. As the disease progresses, breathing difficulties can already be observed in a calm state. Because of developing heart failure, there are swelling - sometimes they are very pronounced, due to which the weight of the baby increases dramatically. Examination of the child can reveal an increase in the liver and spleen.
Features of the clinical picture in a child older than two years
In older children, the clinical picture looks different. Within 2-3 weeks after the primary infection, myocarditis is not manifested at all. Then the symptoms become more pronounced. The signs of ailment include:
- pallor of the skin;
- rapid fatigue, weakness, slight increase in temperature;
- loss of appetite and, correspondingly, weight loss;
- tenderness in muscles and joints, and sometimes in the abdomen;
- as the disease develops, children begin to complain of pain in the heart;
- appears dyspnea and heart palpitations.
Myocarditis: diagnosis of the disease
With a similar disease, the correct diagnosis is very important. With a child, it is best to contact a pediatric cardiology center. For the diagnosis, the following procedures are necessary:
- To begin with, a survey of the child and parents to make an anamnesis, determine the presence of certain symptoms.
- Already during the examination, the doctor may suspect myocarditis - the expert observes pallor, even cyanosis of the skin, palpitations, swelling and shortness of breath.
- Biochemical and serological blood test is performed, which allows to determine the presence of infection and inflammatory process.
- Radiography of chest organs allows the specialist to see the expansion of the heart boundaries and the presence of blood stagnation in the vessels of the lungs, which confirms the presence of an inflammatory process in the myocardium.
- Electrocardiography and echocardiography are mandatory. Such procedures make it possible to examine the work of the heart and assess the degree of disturbances.
- Myocardial biopsy is indicated only in the most severe cases, as it helps to determine the extent of the inflammatory process.
Treatment of the disease: what do doctors offer?
Of course, therapy depends on the cause and extent of the disease. For example, if there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are needed, and for viral lesions, the use of antiviral drugs is indicated. Children are also prescribed immunomodulators, which allow to normalize the work of protective mechanisms.
To eliminate the inflammatory process, patients take anti-inflammatory non-steroid drugs( Voltaren, Brufen, Indomethacin).In particularly severe cases, steroid hormone drugs are used, which are more effective in controlling inflammation. To eliminate edema, diuretics are used to get rid of excess fluid. It is also important to include vitamin preparations in the regimen of therapy. If it is a chronic process, then a sanatorium treatment is indicated. If there is a persistent arrhythmia that does not lend itself to medical treatment, it may be necessary to implant a pacemaker.
Treatment is conducted in a hospital, it is desirable to choose a good children's cardiology center with good specialists. At the end of the course of therapy the child should still undergo regular examinations - first every few months, and then twice a year( with a favorable course of the disease).Echo- and electrocardiography, radiography of chest organs, blood tests should be done periodically - only so you can notice the relapse or the presence of complications in time.
The child's diet for myocarditis
Many parents are now interested in questions about why the child develops and what myocarditis is. Symptoms and treatment of the disease, its causes are, of course, important points. But it is worth considering that when a child needs a special diet( if it's not about babies).
Specialists recommend to give up simple carbohydrates - do not give the child a muffin, chocolate, white bread, pasta. You can replace them with baking without yeast. Also, do not abuse salt and spicy foods, fat varieties of meat and fish, rich soups and broths - it is better to eat low-fat chicken fillet and liver( by the way, it is desirable to prepare meals for a couple).Fish is allowed, but only if it is a question of low-fat grades. The number of eggs should also be limited.
The diet should include sour-milk products, fresh fruits and vegetables( except plums, quinces, hard pears and apples, grapes).Chocolate and other sweets can be replaced with honey, jam, marshmallow and marmalade.
Prognosis for myocarditis
Myocarditis in a child is especially dangerous in the first months of life - it is in this age group of patients that the most lethal outcome is observed. Forecasts depend on the form and severity of the disease. For example, the mild form of the disease sometimes does not require treatment at all. Bacterial inflammation is amenable to treatment, but with a viral lesion, the outcome of the disease may not be too good.
Adverse events are rarely recorded among school-age children and adolescents - as a rule, children quickly recover and return to normal life. True, sometimes during myocarditis in the heart formed sclerotic areas, which can cause heart failure in adulthood.
Unfortunately, there is no universal remedy for myocarditis. Nevertheless, experts recommend following certain rules. A pregnant woman should pay careful attention to her health, prevent the development of infectious diseases, avoid contact with toxins, and regularly take tests.
The state of the newborn should be carefully monitored - infectious and inflammatory diseases should be diagnosed and treated on time. When outbreaks of catarrhal diseases, whenever possible, do not allow the child to contact the infected people. Positively on the state of the immune system will affect proper nutrition, a clear daily routine, moderate physical activity and hardening.