Update on acute myocarditis

Enrico Ammirati, Giacomo Veronese, Maurizio Bottiroli, Dao Wen Wang, Manlio Cipriani, Andrea Garascia, Patrizia Pedrotti, Eric D Adler, Maria Frigerio
Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine 2020 June 1
Acute myocarditis (AM), a recent-onset inflammation of the heart, has heterogeneous clinical presentations, varying from minor symptoms to high-risk cardiac conditions with severe heart failure, refractory arrhythmias, and cardiogenic shock. AM is moving from being a definitive diagnosis based on histological evidence of inflammatory infiltrates on cardiac tissue to a working diagnosis supported by high sensitivity troponin increase in association with specific cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI) findings. Though experts still diverge between those advocating for histological definition versus those supporting a mainly clinical definition of myocarditis, in the real-world practice the diagnosis of AM has undoubtedly shifted from being mainly biopsy-based to solely CMRI-based in most of clinical scenarios. It is thus important to clearly define selected settings where EMB is a must, as information derived from histology is essential for an optimal management. As in other medical conditions, a risk-based approach should be promoted in order to identify the most severe AM cases requiring appropriate bundles of care, including early recognition, transfer to tertiary centers, aggressive circulatory supports with inotropes and mechanical devices, histologic confirmation and eventual immunosuppressive therapy. Despite improvements in recognition and treatment of AM, including a broader use of promising mechanical circulatory supports, severe forms of AM are still burdened by dismal outcomes. This review is focused on recent clinical studies and registries that shed new insights on AM. Attention will be paid to contemporary outcomes and predictors of prognosis, the emerging entity of immune checkpoint inhibitors-associated myocarditis, updated CMRI diagnostic criteria, new data on the use of temporary mechanical circulatory supports in fulminant myocarditis. The role of viruses as etiologic agents will be reviewed and a brief update on pediatric AM is also provided. Finally, we summarize a risk-based approach to AM, based on available evidence and clinical experience.

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