Causes and Symptoms

Early Symptoms of Coxsackie Induced Cardiac Myopathy

The early symptoms of the coxsackie-induced cardiac myopathy include some generalized viral symptoms-fever, fatigue, malaise-with the addition of chest pains. As the virus enters the heart cells, the immune system attacks and damages both infected and normal heart cells; the affected individual feels severe fatigue when there is significant impairment of heart function. In most cases, the disease is resolved spontaneously without any treatment, though some permanent heart damage may have occurred.

Symptoms for Acute Onset of Severe Myocarditis

While there are several contributing factors that may lead to myocarditis, the primary cause is viral. Myocarditis usually results from the Coxsackie B virus, and may also result from measles, influenza, chicken pox, hepatitis virus, or the adenovirus in children. If an acute onset of severe myocarditis occurs, a patient may display the following symptoms:

Rhythm disturbances of the heart

Rapid heartbeat (Ventricular tachycardia)

Left or right ventricular enlargement

Shortness of breath (Dyspnea)

Pulmonary edema (the accumulation of fluid in the lungs due to left-sided heart failure)

Swollen legs

Additional causes of myocarditis include:

Bacterial infections, such as tetanus, gonorrhea, or tuberculosis

Parasite infections, such as Chagas’ disease (which is caused by an insect-borne protozoan most commonly seen in Central and South America)
Rheumatic fever

Surgery on the heart

Radiation therapy for cancer that is localized in the chest, such as breast or lung cancer
Certain medications.

As of 1996, research has shown that illegal drugs and toxic substances may also produce acute or chronic injury to the myocardium. These studies also indicate an increase in the incidence of toxic results from the use of cocaine. This illegal drug causes coronary artery spasm, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and arrhythmias, as well as myocarditis.

Further studies conducted in 1996 indicate that malnutrition encourages the Coxsackie B virus to flourish, leading to the potential development of myocarditis. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is also now recognized as a cause of myocarditis, though its prevalence is not known.

Symptoms of myocarditis may start as fatigue, shortness of breath, fever and aching of the joints, all characteristic of a flu-like illness. In contrast to this type of mild appearance, myocarditis may also appear suddenly in the form of heart failure, or sudden cardiac death without any prior symptoms. If an inflammation of the heart muscle leads to congestive heart failure, symptoms such as swollen feet and ankles, distended neck veins, a rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing while reclining may all appear.