Although it has been recognized for almost two centuries, myocarditis is still a challenging diagnosis due to the wide heterogeneity of its clinical manifestations and evolution. Moreover, the diagnostic gold standard, endomyocardial biopsy (EMB), is infrequently used, making hard to determine the exact incidence of myocarditis.
Clinical presentation includes a wide range of symptoms, ranging from asymptomatic or subclinical disease with mild dyspnea and chest pain to sudden death, due to cardiogenic shock or malignant ventricular arrhythmias. Equally, the evolution of myocarditis largely varies: albeit short-term prognosis is usually good, with complete or partial recovery, dilated cardiomyopathy with chronic heart failure is the major long-term consequence of myocarditis, developing often several years after the acute onset.
This narrative review aims to summarize the current knowledge about myocarditis, with a particular attention to predictors of short- and long-term prognosis, in order to provide a rational and practical approach to the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of suspected myocarditis.