Epidemiology and Prognosis in Acute Myocarditis

Study title

Epidemiological trends and outcomes of hospital admissions for acute myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy in the National Health Service of England from 1998 onwards

About the study

Myocarditis means inflammation of the heart muscle and is known to predominantly affect young adults aged between 19-35 years. It is usually related to a recent viral infection. Patients often present with chest pain mimicking a heart attack, difficulty breathing due to weakened heart muscle, and/or palpitations due to electrical rhythm disturbances within the heart.

However, myocarditis also affects infants and older adults where causative factors and clinical outcomes are poorly characterised. In the long-term, up to one third of patients are thought to be at risk of developing heart failure, known as dilated cardiomyopathy, or experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. 

Few studies have investigated the epidemiology of myocarditis on a population level, and there is NO data on the incidence and prevalence of myocarditis within the UK. 

In this epidemiological study, we leverage information stored within the National Health Service by NHS Digital to access all hospital admission data across NHS England to study the longitudinal epidemiological trends of acute myocarditis. This data is fully anonymised and therefore individual patients cannot be identified in any way.

Aims of the study

Our aim is to provide a contemporary, population-level assessment of the true clinical burden of myocarditis and how this may have changed over the last 20 years. We will investigate changes in who gets myocarditis, investigation and management whilst in hospital, seasonal and geographical variation, and downstream complications in terms of development of heart failure and sudden cardiac death. We will compare these findings to a number of related conditions such as pericarditis, heart failure and myocardial infarction, over the same time-span.

In the future, better evidence and information on the scale and scope of myocarditis will highlight and inform future directions for medical research, including the design of large multi-centre studies to evaluate new emerging immunological therapies. The overall aim is to improve patient outcomes.

Further information

To find out more, please contact Dr Amrit Lota.