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Myocarditis Fibrous Symptoms And Signs

Categories: Uncategorized
Sources: Disturbances Of The Heart

The symptoms of chronic myocardial degeneration are progressive

weakness, slight at first, noticeable on exertion (and what was not

considered exertion becomes such), as evidenced by slight

palpitation, slight shortness of breath, leg weariness and mental

tire. The heart frequently becomes more rapid, not only with

exertion and change of position to the erect, but even after eating.

Slight cardiac stimulants, as coffee
affect the heart more than

previously; there is some sleeplessness, more or less troublesome,

and more or less indigestion. There may be mental irritability and

some mental deterioration, as shown in various ways. There are

likely to be slight edemas of the lower extremities toward night.

The amount of urine may diminish. A previously high blood pressure

becomes lower. The pulse may be occasionally intermittent, and later

actually irregular.

The physical signs often show an enlargement of the heart, with

increased activity at first, from irritability of the heart and a

lack of perfect coordination; later the heart may show typical signs

of weakness. Not infrequently a heart suffering from fibrosis acts

perfectly until some sudden exertion, as lifting, running or serious

illness causes it suddenly to become weak. Such a heart rarely

regains its former strength. This occurs frequently to those who

have supposed themselves to be in perfect physical health. Some

sudden strain which they have previously been able to endure without

injury, such as carrying a weight upstairs, cranking a refractory

engine, pumping up a series of tires, or walking rapidly with a

younger or more active companion, will suddenly give cardiac

distress signals, serious exhaustion and more or less lengthy

prostration, perhaps for an hour or so, or perhaps for several days.

Permanent cardiac weakness may follow, or compensation may again

occur, to be more easily broken later. Slight cardiac pains and

sensations referred to the cardiac region become frequent. Disliking

to lie on the left side, when previously the patient has been able

to sleep on this side without discomfort, is an evidence of cardiac

disturbance. There may be no real pains, but the patient becomes

conscious of his heart, perhaps for the first time in his life. This

alone is an indication of coming trouble.

If these signs and symptoms develop late in life, or at any age with

other symptoms of sclerosis or senility, little can be done

therapeutically except to afford temporary relief and to prevent the

occurrence of acute attacks of cardiac distress or dyspnea. If the

disturbance is really due to chronic cardiac degeneration, the

sooner the patient learns that his ability is restricted, that his

life is narrowed, the better for his future.