Five cases of myocarditis occurring after the injection of the Pfizer vaccine have been identified in France, according to a report of the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) published on April 30.
Reports that follow 62 cases of myocarditis that appeared in Israel after the administration of serum from Pfizer and BioNTech laboratories. Analyzes carried out in Israel show that this condition is more common in men under 30 and in individuals who have received both doses of this vaccine.
However, “making a connection would be difficult because myocarditis, a condition that often goes away without complications, can be caused by a variety of virus and that a similar number of cases have been reported in previous years “, explained Dr Nachman Ash, coordinator of the response to the pandemic in Israel.
ANSM also specified that “the available data do not, at this stage, provide sufficient elements to conclude on a role of vaccine, but nevertheless constitute a potential signal. These effects will therefore be the subject of specific monitoring and will be shared at European level “.
Myocarditis: what is it?
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardium, which is none other than the muscle of the heart that allows blood to circulate. When it is reached, it is no longer able to properly fulfill its role of pump. This inflammation can affect parts of the heart muscle or all of it.
What are the causes of myocarditis?
This heart damage is usually caused by a viral infection. It can be a respiratory tract infection like the flu, or the gastrointestinal tract. Among the viruses responsible for myocarditis, we find in particular parvovirus B19 and human herpesvirus type 6. Some works also shed light on the appearance of myocarditis in patients affected by Covid-19. But myocarditis can also be caused by bacterial infection like strep or staphylococcus can also be the cause of myocarditis.
This inflammation of the heart muscle can also have a non-infectious origin. In this case, certain autoimmune diseases such as sarcoidosis or Behçet’s disease may be involved. Substances that are toxic to the heart, such as alcohol or cocaine, can also cause myocarditis.
What are the symptoms of myocarditis?
Myocarditis can in some cases be asymptomatic. But among the manifestations that may be suggestive of this inflammation of the heart muscle, we find in particular:
- tiredness ;
- fever ;
- shortness of breath;
- edema, in other words swelling;
- chest pain;
Myocarditis: how to diagnose it?
Faced with a suspicion of myocarditis, the diagnosis is initially based on the observation of symptoms, but also on a clinical examination. Various examinations are then prescribed by the doctor to detect myocarditis. Among them, we find a blood sample, an electrocardiogram (ECG), an imaging of the heart, namely an echocardiography and an MRI or a biopsy of the heart muscle.
How to treat myocarditis?
Most of the time, myocarditis resolves spontaneously. However, it is important that the patient rests. It is also advisable to monitor the evolution of this inflammation of the heart muscle to avoid possible complications, which is also why hospitalization is often necessary. Treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesics may also be prescribed to manage myocarditis.
Read also :
⋙ Pfizer vaccine and myocarditis: what are the side effects identified to date by the ANSM?
⋙ Is your heart healthy? Michel Cymes’ tip for knowing if you should see a cardiologist
⋙ Cardiovascular diseases in women: they kill “six times more” than breast cancer