Role of myocarditis in the genesis of arrhythmias in athletes

P. Zeppilli, C. Santini, V. Palmieri, R. Vannicelli, S. Cameli, R. Corsetti, R. Pietrangeli, C. Picani, A. Dello Russo, A. Frustaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of myocarditis in Sports Medicine practice, with particular attention to its role in the genesis of arrhythmias, has not been well categorized so far. Here, we summarized our recent experience on this topic. We analysed the clinical and endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) findings of 8 young sportsmen (4 male and 4 female), aged from 16 to 26 years referred to us because of present (6 cases) or previous ventricular arrhythmias (2 cases). EMB documented active myocarditis in 2 cases, healing myocarditis in 2, fibroadipose substitution of the right ventricular wall in one and findings compatible with right ventricular dilated cardiomyopathy in one. Healed myocarditis was documented in the 2 cases with previous ventricular arrhythmias. So, 6 out of 8 sportsmen with ventricular arrhythmias had myocarditis in different stages. Furthermore, the effects of corticosteroids administration in 7 sportsmen with ventricular arrhythmias and documented or suspected myocarditis were also reported. Complete disappearance or significant decrease in arrhythmias was observed in all, within the seventh to fifteenth day. Present data confirmed that myocarditis is a not rare cause of rhythm disturbances in sportsmen with no overt heart disease or with minor echocardiographic and/or angioscintigraphic abnormalities. When clinical history and instrumental findings strongly suggest myocarditis, a therapeutic corticosteroid trial might be useful to orient the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalNew Trends in Arrhythmias
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • arrhythmias
  • endomyocardial biopsy
  • myocarditis
  • sportsmen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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