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When influenza viruses attack the heart, cardiac complications, specifically myocarditis, require hospital treatment. The disease does not always present clear symptoms, and its consequences can be dire, ranging from arrhythmias and heart failure to sudden death. The only effective method of treating myocarditis is heart transplantation.

Complications of influenza , includingpost-influenza myocarditis , are very serious. Once the flu virus enters the epithelium of the upper respiratory tract - nose, throat, trachea, bronchi - it multiplies intensively within 4-6 hours, quickly damaging or destroying cilia in the nose. In doing so, it weakens the first line of defense and makes its way deeper into the body. When flu viruses reach and settle in the heart, they cause inflammation of the heart muscle. The most vulnerable to this complication are people from high-risk groups, incl. children, seniors, the chronically ill, people with weakened immunity. They also tend to be the hardest hit.

Post-influenza myocarditis: causes

Most often infection affects the entire heart muscle including the pericardium (the thin surrounding membranes). When inflammation begins in the heart, the body's retaliatory action immediately begins. Leukocytes circulating throughout the body accumulate in the infected area - they 'devour' flu viruses, producing antibodies that kill them. Macrophages release interferon, a protein that penetrates he althy cells, blocking the reproduction of viruses. Often the disease is faster.

The spreading inflammatory infiltrate damages cells, reducing the contractility of the heart muscle. With increasing effort, the heart pumps less and less blood into the vessels. It is similar to the work of the heart during a heart attack, when the dead cells are also not doing their job properly. Eventually, the left ventricle gradually dilates and failure progresses. As a result, blood flow through tissues and organs is reduced. Therefore, heart failure affects the functioning of the entire body.

If the myocarditis affects the pericardium, a large amount of fluid accumulates between the wall of the heart and the outer layer of the pericardial sac, putting pressure on the heart, further disrupting its work.

Post-influenza myocarditisand pericarditis may be relatively mild. However, it often develops electrifyingly, even leading to death. Due to this complication, not only seniors die, but also young people between the ages of 20 and 40.


How to protect yourself from MSM?

In the prevention of MSD it is therefore important to strengthen the body's immunity, and when it becomes infected - quickly heal the infection. That is why the flu is a disease that must not be taken lightly. If your doctor gives you time off and advises you to stay in bed, do so! There is no better cure for the flu than basking under the covers. Better stay home, as having a cold flu increases the risk of myocarditis and other complications.

Post-influenza myocarditis: symptoms

Myocarditis is most common 1-2 weeks after the onset of flu symptoms, but it may take several weeks for it to develop. The following should be disturbing: constant, inexplicable fatigue and drowsiness, breakdown and low-grade fever or low fever of variable course. The patient has shallow breathing and progressive shortness of breath. Characteristic is the acceleration of the heart rate, disproportionate to the fever and even the slightest effort. The disease is accompanied by palpitations and arrhythmias, ranging from single excitations to prolonged tachycardia, sometimes associated with fainting, fainting, even loss of consciousness.

A commonsymptom of myocarditisis also sharp, stabbing pains located deep in the chest, behind the breastbone, radiating to the neck, left shoulder and back, typical of coronary pains. They worsen when you cough, swallow, walk, lie on your left side and on your back, and decrease when you sit and lean forward.

But sometimes post-influenza heart disease is asymptomatic. Then the patient only from time to time feels the "stumbling" of the heart, resulting from additional contractions, and only possible long-term effects of the disease are recognized.

Post-influenza myocarditis: research

In case of disturbing symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. The extent of the havoc influenza viruses will wreak to your heart largely depends on the time it takes to be diagnosed and treated. If, on the basis of the history and the preliminary examination (auscultation), the doctor suspectsmyocarditis , the patient should be admitted to the hospital.

Due to the ambiguous symptoms of the disease (they may suggest various cardiological diseases, e.g.coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation or myocardial infarction) requires a lot of specialist research to make a final diagnosis. These are: ECG, echocardiography, chest X-ray, and sometimes Holter and magnetic resonance imaging are also performed. Blood tests also help in making a diagnosis: ESR, complete blood count, blood test for antiviral antibodies, and the level of heart attack markers.

The test to determine if there is inflammation is a heart muscle biopsy (a piece of tissue is subjected to histopathological examination and tests to determine the type of virus).

Post-influenza myocarditis: treatment

Cardiac complications following the flu usually require hospital treatment. They are adapted to the advancement of the disease and general he alth. The main goal of therapy is to relieve symptoms and it is based on limiting physical activity. The patient should rest and avoid stress so that the body has the strength to fight the virus. Fatigue or lack of sleep can lead to a deterioration of he alth, which excludes you from everyday life for a long time. Usually, popular drugs used in the treatment of influenza are given, in more severe cases - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and immunosuppressants. If a bacterial infection has joined, an antibiotic is needed.

In case of heart rhythm disturbances, first of all, you need to replenish the level of electrolytes in the body (potassium and magnesium preparations are administered), sometimes also standard medications recommended for the treatment of arrhythmias are used. In the case of heart failure, medications that dilate blood vessels and improve the work of the heart muscle help.

Some patients require treatment in the intensive care unit - sometimes it is necessary to support the circulation with special equipment. If severe failure develops, heart transplantation is the only effective treatment.


Other complications after the flu

  • sinusitis
  • purulent runny nose
  • severe headache when bending down
  • feeling of pressure, sometimes swelling of the face under the eyes
  • otitis media
  • earache
  • hearing impairment
  • bronchitis
  • a paroxysmal tiring cough that ends with the expectoration of a clear or purulent discharge
  • fever
  • pneumonia
  • respiratory failure
  • chest pain or stomach pain and vomiting
  • meningitis
  • nausea

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