Thursday, November 15, 2007

DH is now Home

First things first ... THANK YOU so much to all of you who commented, left well wishes, prayers, & gave me calls. It really means the world to me to know that so many of you care.

Fingers crossed ... DH is now home & was given a diagnosis of myocarditis (imflamation of the heart). Below is the definition of what it is. It's pretty lengthy so you won't hurt my feelings if you don't read it. Anyway, DH is still hurting a bit in his chest but they gave him meds to help manage his pain. He is only to work & do activity as tolerable ... he's stubborn so this will take an act of God to get him to sit still. His 1sgt & commander are trying to get him convalesant leave or at least quarters. They know he isn't up to work but without it in writing DH will show up tomorrow morning bright & early. He just doesn't know how to sit back & relax. I'm not sure he has much of a choice though ... almost thought he was gonna have to stay an extra night. The doc came in, gave him the all ok speach & said release papers would be in soon. He got up to get dressed & when he sat back down he clung to his chest ... had to call the nurse in for more pain meds. He pretty much refused to stay ... I can understand though, I'm pretty fond of my own space too.

Below is just what Myocarditis is ...

Definition of Myocarditis

Myocarditis is an inflammatory condition involving the myocardium (heart muscle).

Description of Myocarditis

Myocarditis is characterized by a variety of symptoms ranging from fatigue, difficult breathing, and rapid heartbeat to sudden death from fatal arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm).

Myocarditis may occur following a wide assortment of diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, immune system disorders, and the production of myocardial toxins by the body, as well as chemical and radiation exposure.

In the early 1900s, myocarditis was recognized as the cause of many cases of congestive heart failure, and a regimen of strictly enforced bedrest was prescribed as being the only treatment having beneficial effects. In spite of the multitude of advances in definition, diagnosis and treatment, this may still be the most effective treatment.

The introduction of endomyocardial biopsy (removal of small amounts of heart muscle for microscopic analysis) now allows a histological, rather than clinical diagnosis. Only 30 percent of the patients with clinical symptoms of myocarditis are shown to have unequivocal biopsy diagnosis - the reason for this discrepancy is controversial. Cardiac imaging, in the form of angiography or computerized tomography, seldom helps in making a definitive diagnosis of myocarditis.

Causes and Risk Factors of Myocarditis

Many organisms can infect and injure the heart. Type B, a virus among those that usually infect the gastrointestinal tract, is believed to be the most common offending agent. Many other viruses, such as those of polio, rubella and influenza, have been associated with myocarditis.

It is not clear why the same viruses cause myocarditis in some patients and different diseases - gastroenteritis, pneumonia, or hepatitis, for example - in others.

Myocarditis can occur as a rare complication of bacterial infections, including diphtheria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and tetanus. Other infectious organisms, such as rickettsiae and parasites, may also cause inflammation in the heart muscle.

In Central and South America, myocarditis is often due to Chagas disease, an infectious illness that is transmitted by insects.

Symptoms of Myocarditis

Symptoms of myocarditis vary widely.

In adults, they can sometimes mimic those of a heart attack - mild to severe pain in the center of the chest, which may radiate to the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. In severe cases, symptoms include breathlessness, rapid pulse, and heart arrhythmias.

In infants, symptoms may also include bluish skin, heart murmurs, and a poor appetite.

Myocarditis may be suspected whenever chest pain or arrhythmia symptoms suggestive of congestive heart failure occur during the course of an infectious illness, especially a viral one. It should also be suspected when such symptoms occur in the absence of an obvious diagnosis.

Myocarditis may start as a flu-like illness that lingers longer than the usual several days. If significant muscle damage and weakening of the heart's chambers occur, symptoms of heart failure may develop. A month or two later, the symptoms of flu (weakness and malaise) merge with symptoms of heart failure (fatigue during physical activity and shortness of breath).

If the illness is persistent and progressive, symptoms become disabling enough for the person to consult a physician. By this time, however, the infecting organism usually cannot be detected or cultured from the heart or other places in the body. By the time the patient seeks medical help, all traces of the infecting organism or disease process that may have triggered the condition may be undetectable.

Diagnosis of Myocarditis

Diagnosis may require blood tests, a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram or radionuclide angiocardiogram, and, in rare cases, biopsy of a tissue sample from the heart muscle.

Treatment of Myocarditis

Mild, viral-related myocarditis in adults cures itself with little or no direct treatment. Similarly, mild cases caused by other types of infection often require only taking antibiotics or other drugs to treat the underlying disease.

More severe myocarditis may cause marked heart arrhythmias and heart failure if inflammation sufficiently damages the heart muscle or myocardium.

In such cases, medications to stabilize heart function may be necessary. These may include vasodilators, digitalis, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and other drugs. In certain severe types of myocarditis, steroids may be prescribed.

Sometimes even after myocarditis is resolved, the heart muscle remains permanently damaged. If a heart block or marked slowing of the heart rate occurs, a pacemaker may be required. In advanced, severe cases, cardiac transplantation may be the only alternative.

During the acute phase of myocarditis, patient are advised to rest and gradually return to a more active lifestyle once evidence disappears of ongoing inflammation and heart injury.

Many cases of myocarditis cause minimal heart damage. Heart function fully recovers in these mild cases. Occasionally, severe cases of myocarditis also clear up spontaneously and leave little permanent damage. More typically, however, severe inflammation produces chronic, progressive, and irreversible heart damage.


  1. Glad he's home, and that everything seems to be OK... hope he relaxes and gets better soon, and I hope you and your kids are doing good as well!

  2. ok I reread it because I skimmed it the first time and he better listen to the doctor and not try to be a hero because you and those kids need him around and the heart is nothing to mess with .. I know I am constantly fighting with mine to make him healthy so far he has lived 4 years and they gave him 5 I am praying every day he makes it 50

  3. Men are stubborn but glad he is home with you.  Hoping for a speedy recovery, cus men are a pain in the ass when they are

  4. Glad hubby is home. Hope things continue to get better.
    Take care, Chrissie

  5. I am glad that your husband is home.  Take care of him and I will pray for you and your family.  Take care, Ellen

  6. Oh my.  Glad he is home and doing ok.  I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.  Jim take it easy please.  Rena'