Giant cell myocarditis is a very rare disease that is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms vary from simple fatigue to sudden death. Once a diagnosis is made it is easy to look back and connect these symptoms with giant cell myocarditis. But these same symptoms could have been due to a variety of non-life threatening conditions. Even if someone were taken to a hospital with minor unexplained symptoms a proper diagnosis would most likely not be made.
* Heart muscle inflammation * Irregular heartbeat * Chest pain * Heart failure * Fatigue
The cause of giant cell myocarditis is not known, but observations in human tissue and experimental data from a Lewis Rat model suggest that the disease is mediated by T lymphocytes.
The diagnosis is made by heart biopsy, which is routinely performed in the post-transplant patient to look for rejection of the donor heart.
One treatment is to give the patient a variety of immunosupressive drugs combined with steroids. Another option is a heart transplant. The goal of immunosupression therapy is to prolong heart transplantion. The need for a transplant my be prolonged by months or even years. Since each case is unique there is not a typical time