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Myocarditis And Pericarditis In The Pediatric Patient: Validated Management Strategies

July 2015

Abstract

Myocarditis and pericarditis are inflammatory conditions of the heart commonly caused by viral and autoimmune etiologies, although many cases are idiopathic. Emergency clinicians must maintain a high index of suspicion for these conditions, given the rarity and often nonspecific presentation in the pediatric population. Children with myocarditis may present with a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to overt heart failure and shock, whereas children with pericarditis typically present with chest pain and fever. The cornerstone of therapy for myocarditis includes aggressive supportive management of heart failure, as well as administration of inotropes and antidysrhythmic medications, as indicated. Children often require admission to an intensive care setting. The acute management of pericarditis includes recognition of tamponade and, if identified, the performance of pericardiocentesis. Medical therapies may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and colchicine, with steroids reserved for specific populations. This review focuses on the evaluation and treatment of children with myocarditis and/or pericarditis, with an emphasis on currently available medical evidence.

Keywords: emergency medicine CME, pediatric, myocarditis, pericarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, DCM, chest pain, cardiogenic shock, advanced cardiac life support, ACLS, cardiac tamponade, Beck triad, pericardiocentesis, pericardial effusion, electrocardiogram, ECG, chest radiograph, ST-segment, echocardiogram, inotrope, antidysrhythmic agent, peripheral venous access, intraosseous access, colchicine, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAID, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Meningococcus

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