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Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle from any cause.
What is going on in the body?
Inflammation can change the heart in many ways. It can make it weaker and affect the way it functions. Inflammation can cause certain areas of the heart muscle to die. Sometimes only a small area is affected, but serious cases may involve the entire heart.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
There are many causes of this condition, including:
infections, usually with a virus
autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which occur when a person's immune system attacks his or her own body
radiation therapy, which may be given to treat cancer in the chest
exposure to chemicals or drugs, such as cocaine or a medication used to treat cancer, called doxorubicin
pregnancy, which can very rarely produce severe inflammation of the heart
Other causes are possible, and sometimes the cause is unknown.