Inflammatory heart disease is increasingly recognised as one of the major causes of heart failure worldwide. Chronic rheumatological conditions (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis), previous cancer treatment and viral infections (influenza, COVID-19, etc.) of the heart are all recognised triggers of a persistent 'low-flame' inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis). Unlike the myocardial infarction, which is manifest through an excruciating chest pain, myocarditis is a silent (subclinical) disease process, which gives away little by a way of symptoms. After many months and years of accumulating inflammatory injury, patients may eventually show overt symptoms, such as shortness of breath or even heart failure.
Early recognition is important because there is a good chance that early cardioprotective treatment could reduce the relentless course of inflammatory damage or even halt it.
Cardiac magnetic resonance is the diagnostic test of choice in inflammatory cardiomyopathies, because it is very sensitive to detect inflammation directly within the tissue of the heart. Dr Puntmann contributed numerous insights into the early detection of cardiac inflammation using cardiac magnetic resonance in the above-mentioned predisposing conditions. The list of her publication can be found here. In the video below, Dr Puntmann explains the usual CMR findings in patients with a postviral inflammatory cardiac condition.