Fulminant myocarditis in adults: A narrative review

Santiago Montero, Darryl Abrams, Enrico Ammirati, Florent Huang, Dirk W. Donker, Guillaume Hekimian, Cosme García-García, Antoni Bayes-Genis, Alain Combes, Matthieu Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Fulminant myocarditis (FM) is an uncommon syndrome characterized by sudden and severe hemodynamic compromise secondary to acute myocardial inflammation, often presenting as profound cardiogenic shock, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and/or electrical storm. FM may be refractory to conventional therapies and require mechanical circulatory support (MCS). The immune system has been recognized as playing a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of myocarditis, leading to an increased focus on immunosuppressive treatment strategies. Recent data have highlighted not only the fact that FM has significantly worse outcomes than non-FM, but that prognosis and management strategies of FM are heavily dependent on histological subtype, placing greater emphasis on the role of endomyocardial biopsy in diagnosis. The impact of subtype on severity and prognosis will likewise influence how aggressively the myocarditis is managed, including whether MCS is warranted. Many patients with refractory cardiogenic shock secondary to FM end up requiring MCS, with venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation demonstrating favorable survival rates, particularly when initiated prior to the development of multiorgan failure. Among the challenges facing the field are the need to more precisely identify immunopathophysiological pathways in order to develop targeted therapies, and the need to better optimize the timing and management of MCS to minimize complications and maximize outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geriatric Cardiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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