JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Acute and Fulminant Myocarditis: a Pragmatic Clinical Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment

Enrico Ammirati, Giacomo Veronese, Manlio Cipriani, Francesco Moroni, Andrea Garascia, Michela Brambatti, Eric D Adler, Maria Frigerio
Current Cardiology Reports 2018 September 26, 20 (11): 114
30259175

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the clinical features of acute myocarditis, including its fulminant presentation, and present a pragmatic approach to the diagnosis and treatment, considering indications of American and European Scientific Statements and recent data derived by large contemporary registries.

RECENT FINDINGS: Patients presenting with acute uncomplicated myocarditis (i.e., without left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure, or ventricular arrhythmias) have a favorable short- and long-term prognosis: these findings do not support the indication to endomyocardial biopsy in this clinical scenario. Conversely, patients with complicated presentations, especially those with fulminant myocarditis, require an aggressive and comprehensive management, including endomyocardial biopsy and availability of advanced therapies for circulatory support. Although several immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive therapies have been studied and are actually prescribed in the real-world practice, their effectiveness has not been clearly demonstrated. Patients with specific histological subtypes of acute myocarditis (i.e., giant cell and eosinophilic myocarditis) or those affected by sarcoidosis or systemic autoimmune disorders seem to benefit most from immunosuppression. On the other hand, no clear evidence supports the use of immunosuppressive agents in patients with lymphocytic acute myocarditis, even though small series suggest a potential benefit. Acute myocarditis is a heterogeneous condition with distinct pathophysiological pathways. Further research is mandatory to identify factors and mechanisms that may trigger/maintain or counteract/repair the myocardial damage, in order to provide a rational for future evidence-based treatment of patients affected by this condition.

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