Role of myocarditis in athletes with minor arrhythmias and/or echocardiographic abnormalities

P. Zeppilli, C. Santini, V. Palmieri, R. Vannicelli, A. Giordano, A. Frustaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the clinical and instrumental data, including the endomyocardial biopsy findings, of six young athletes presenting with minor arrhythmias and/or echocardiographic abnormalities. In one of them, a left ventricular dilation with moderate depression of the systolic function had been attributed to an athlete's heart. A diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia had been made in three others, one with right ventricular dilation and apical hypokinesia, and two with ventricular arrhythmias with QRS morphology of left bundle branch block. A myocarditis could be unequivocally established in four athletes (two with and two without fibrosis). In the remaining two, with a clinical history strongly suggesting a previously acute myocarditis, the endomyocardial biopsy specimen revealed a nonspecific fibrosis compatible but not definitely pathognomonic of a healed myocarditis. Our report suggests that a myocarditis may be a cause of minor rhythm disturbances and/or echocardiographic abnormalities in athletes. A prevalent localization of the inflammatory process in the right ventricle with or without the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias with left bundle branch block morphology can mimic an arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. An early diagnosis of myocarditis in athletes is useful to avoid the risk of fatal arrhythmias, also considering that rest still keeps on being one of the most effective strategies in myocarditis management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • arrhythmias
  • athlete
  • cardiac biopsy
  • myocarditis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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