No proven therapy
Although up to 50% of acute myocarditis cases undergo spontaneous healing, recognition and multidisciplinary management of clinically suspected myocarditis is important. The optimal treatment remains unclear.
An early case report suggested use of methylprednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulin helped spare the life of a 37-year-old with clinically suspected fulminant myocarditis with cardiogenic shock.
In a related commentary, Dr. Caforio and colleagues pointed out that the World Health Organization considers the use of IV corticosteroids controversial, even in pneumonia due to COVID-19, because it may reduce viral clearance and increase sepsis risk. Intravenous immunoglobulin is also questionable because there is no IgG response to COVID-19 in the plasma donors’ pool.
“Immunosuppression should be reserved for only virus-negative non-COVID myocarditis,” Dr. Caforio said in an interview. “There is no appropriate treatment nowadays for clinically suspected COVID-19 myocarditis. There is no proven therapy for COVID-19, even less for COVID-19 myocarditis.”
Although definitive publication of the RECOVERY trial is still pending, the benefits of dexamethasone – a steroid that works predominantly through its anti-inflammatory effects – appear to be in the sickest patients, such as those requiring ICU admission or respiratory support.
“Many of the same patients would have systemic inflammation and would have also shown elevated cardiac biomarkers,” Dr. Liu observed. “Therefore, it is conceivable that a subset who had cardiac inflammation also benefited from the treatment. Further data, possibly through subgroup analysis and eventually meta-analysis, may help us to understand if dexamethasone also benefited patients with dominant cardiac injury.”
Dr. Caforio, Dr. Marshall, Dr. Liu, and Dr. Cooper reported having no relevant conflicts of interest.
A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.