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Pediatric Viral Myocarditis Treatment & Management

  • Author: Edwin Rodriguez-Cruz, MD; Chief Editor: Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI  more...
 
Updated: Aug 26, 2015
 

Approach Considerations

In the acute phase of viral myocarditis, the patient should be admitted to the hospital, even if only mild signs of respiratory distress or congestive heart failure are present. Rapid progression to overt heart failure, hemodynamic collapse, or both may occur. Consultation with a cardiologist is indicated. Transfer to a facility with intensive and cardiology care may be required.

Medical care is aimed at minimizing the body’s hemodynamic demands. No specific proven therapy is available to prevent myocardial damage, but maintenance of tissue perfusion is the goal to avoid further complications. Normal arterial blood oxygen levels should be maintained with supplemental oxygen as needed.

Conventional management of viral myocarditis includes the use of digoxin, diuretics, and afterload reduction. Severe cases with hemodynamic compromise may require intravenous inotropic agents, afterload reduction, vasodilators, and anticoagulation. Discharge patients with viral myocarditis when they are stable on oral medications.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been used as an interim treatment to provide rest to the heart and as a bridge for transplant in selected patients with good results.  Left ventricular assist devices may also be utilized in those patients with poor left ventricular function that does not recover and as a bridge to transplantation. 

Diet and activity

A low-salt diet is recommended for patients with congestive heart failure. Bed rest is necessary during the acute phase of the illness and may slow the intramyocardial replication of the virus. Activity is permitted as partial or complete recovery is achieved. Restrict patient activity based on performance after the acute phase.

Monitoring

Monitor medication doses and adverse effects. Serial echocardiography is useful in monitoring ventricular function. Avoid negative inotropes. Be aware of the possibility of a further decrease in ventricular function.

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Edwin Rodriguez-Cruz, MD Director, Section of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, San Jorge Children’s Hospital, Puerto Rico; Private Practice in Interventional Pediatric Cardiology and Internal Medicine, Centro Pedíatrico y Cardiovascular

Edwin Rodriguez-Cruz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American Society of Echocardiography, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Pediatric Echocardiography, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, Puerto Rico Medical Association

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: St Jude's Medical Co.<br/>Received grant/research funds from NOVARTIS for investigator; Received consulting fee from St. Jude Medical Corp. for speaking and teaching.

Coauthor(s)

Robert D Ross, MD Director of Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Program, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Children's Hospital of Michigan; Professor of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Robert D Ross, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Society of Pediatric Echocardiography

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Cardiology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; Director of Interventional Pediatric Cardiology, Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital

Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: St. Jude Medical.

Acknowledgements

Ameeta Martin, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Nebraska College of Medicine

Ameeta Martin, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Cardiology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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