An inflammation of the heart

The heart is an important muscle in our body and it ensures that blood is pumped throughout the body, so that all tissues are supplied with oxygen. Just as it can occur in other places in the body, inflammation can also occur in the heart. Bacteria can enter the heart and infect various parts of the heart. It usually occurs as a result of another inflammation in the body, where the bacteria have entered the bloodstream and enter the heart through the blood. What types of an inflamed heart are there?

General

The heart is a muscle the size of a clenched fist that is hollow inside. This contracts to pump blood through the body. The heart is located in the chest cavity, slightly to the left of the center and behind the ribs. You can feel your heartbeat on your wrist, in the neck and in the groin. The main parts of the heart are atria, chambers and valves. The heart consists of four cavities, these are:

  1. Right atrium
  2. Left atrium
  3. Right ventricle
  4. Left room

The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs, and the right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body. Blood is pumped from the atria to the ventricles. The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood into the body and the right ventricle pumps oxygen-poor blood to the lungs.

Inflammation of the heart

Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body, including in the heart. To know what treatment the patient needs, it is important to know where the inflammation is located and how it originated. Broadly speaking, we can divide inflammation of the heart into three types, each of which can arise in a different part of the heart:

  • Endocarditis: an inflammation of the lining of the heart
  • Myocarditis: the heart muscle itself is inflamed
  • Pericarditis: an inflammation of the outside of the heart

An example of inflammation on the inside of the heart is Q fever. If you are infected with this, you run the risk of the Q fever bacteria affecting a heart valve.

Endocarditis

Bacterial endocarditis is caused by an inflammatory reaction caused by bacteria. They enter the heart via the bloodstream. Everyone has bacteria in the bloodstream from time to time. This can be caused by a variety of causes, such as inflamed gums, skin injuries or surgery. The resistance usually ensures that these bacteria are rendered harmless. If the resistance is less effective, the bacteria can enter the heart and damage the inside of the heart or the heart valves. This is a serious condition and it must be treated as soon as possible.

Types of endocarditis

The medical name for the inside of the heart is endocardium. Bacterial endocarditis has two forms: the acute and the subacute form. In the subacute form, the patient suffers from vague complaints that gradually increase. The associated complaints are: elevation, fatigue, sweating, anemia, heart murmur, pale skin color and chills. In the acute form, the bacteria are quite aggressive. This infection can be life-threatening in a few days. Complaints that come with this are: high fever, accelerated heart rate and fatigue.

Myocarditis

The medical name for heart muscle is myocardium. The heart muscle itself is inflamed. This is usually the result of a viral infection, but it can also be caused by a parasite, bacteria or radiation. This condition can develop acutely or only after several weeks or months. The first symptoms resemble flu. Once the flu symptoms have disappeared, it sometimes turns out that something else is going on. Complaints that come with this are: fever, pain in the heart region, sweating, fatigue, cardiac arrhythmias and shortness of breath. As a result of the inflammation, damage to the heart can occur. This can lead to heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias.

Pericarditis

The medical name for the pericardium is pericardium. It is a double membrane that surrounds the heart. The inner layer is fused to the heart and there is fluid between the layers so that the layers can easily slide past each other while the heart moves. If the pericardium becomes inflamed, it hurts very much. Inflammations can arise in different ways, for example due to a virus, after the flu or after an operation. The complaints may include: severe pain in the chest area, flu-like feeling, shortness of breath and fatigue. As a result of the pericarditis, permanent damage can occur, such as too much fluid in the pericardium or the pericardium can shrink.