Myocarditis is inflammation and weakness of the heart muscle usually caused by a viral infection that reaches the heart, such as the influenza (flu) virus, Coxsackie virus, and adenovirus. Myocarditis can damage the heart muscle causing it to become thick and swollen. This leads to symptoms of heart failure. Myocarditis may also occur during or after other viral or bacterial infections such as polio, rubella, Lyme disease, and others.
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.