Myocarditis, the inflammation of the heart muscle, is a potentially dangerous disease that can lead to complications such as heart failure, rhythm disorder, and even sudden death. Child Health and Diseases Specialist, Dr. Akif Çelik, explained that while myocarditis can occur at any age, it is relatively rare in children. The disease has two peaks during infancy and adolescence, and in autopsy studies, myocarditis is diagnosed in 2% of all pediatric deaths.
Various factors can cause myocarditis, including viral infections, rheumatic disorders, drug sensitivities, and exposure to environmental pollution factors. However, viral infections are the primary cause of myocarditis in children. The leading viruses that can cause myocarditis are enteroviruses, coxsakivirus, ecovirus, poliovirus, and adenovirus. In recent years, parvo virus b 19 has been found to cause myocarditis frequently.
Symptoms of myocarditis in children may vary according to the severity of the condition. Children may not show any symptoms in some cases. However, in children with inflammation of the heart muscle, symptoms may include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, easy fatigue, rapid or irregular heartbeat, swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet, fainting or dizziness, fever, or flu-like complaints.
Parents should carefully monitor these symptoms and consult a doctor immediately if their child shows any of these. To diagnose myocarditis in children, certain tests such as blood tests, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms (ECG), heart MRI, and heart biopsy should be conducted.
Dr. Çelik suggests that vaccines, good hand hygiene, and avoiding contact with sick people can reduce the risk of myocarditis. To prevent the condition from developing, early detection and treatment of infections that can cause myocarditis are necessary. With rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment, most children with myocarditis can recover completely.
In mild cases, children can recover on their own without any treatment. However, in severe cases, medication may be necessary depending on the cause of the condition. Rest is essential for children with myocarditis, and physical activity should be restricted until the condition improves. Severe cases may require hospitalization, and children may need oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, medications to support the heart’s work, or other supportive therapy.
In conclusion, myocarditis is a rare but potentially fatal disease that can occur in children due to viral infections or other factors. Parents should be aware of the symptoms and take immediate action if they suspect their child has this condition. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, good hand hygiene, and avoiding contact with sick people can help prevent myocarditis and reduce the risk of complications. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial for a full recovery.