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Fulminant myocarditis: use of echocardiography from diagnosis to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation


Fulminant myocarditis can present with life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiogenic shock due to ventricular failure. The diagnosis of myocarditis usually requires histological and immunological information, as its aetiology may be infectious (viral or non-viral), autoimmune or drug related. The treatment of fulminant myocarditis depends on the underlying cause but usually includes high dose systemic steroids as well as physiological support. Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (V-A ECMO) can be used to support patients as a bridge to recovery by supporting biventricular function and decompressing the heart. V-A ECMO carries risks and complications of its own such as thrombus formation or bleeding. Different diagnostic modalities, such as transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) and transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE), are central to the monitoring of progression of disease and recovery of heart function. This case highlights the importance of early recognition and early support with V-A ECMO in fulminant myocarditis, as well as the role of repeated echocardiography when weaning from physiological support.


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Correspondence to Na Hyun Park.

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Park, N.H., Lashin, H. & Spiritoso, R. Fulminant myocarditis: use of echocardiography from diagnosis to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Echo Res Pract 7, K21–K26 (2020).

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Key Words

  • echocardiography
  • fulminant myocarditis
  • transoesophageal echocardiography
  • transthoracic echocardiography