Electrocardiogram changes in pediatric patients with myocarditis

Anthony G. Pompa, Lee B. Beerman, Brian Feingold, Gaurav Arora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: It is traditionally taught that pediatric patients with myocarditis almost always have an abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) at presentation. However, there has never been a study to objectively evaluate ECG changes in pediatric myocarditis patients compared to healthy controls or explore if specific ECG changes correlate with clinical outcomes. Methods: Pediatric patients diagnosed with acute myocarditis were age and sex matched 1:2 with healthy controls in this retrospective case-control study spanning a seven-year period. ECGs from presentation through discharge were interpreted by electrophysiologists blinded to the patients' diagnoses. Results: Thirty-nine patients with myocarditis were identified. Twenty-eight (72%) had an abnormal ECG at presentation, 11 (28%) had a completely normal ECG. In this second group, six patients had an abnormal ECG at some point during their hospital course for a total of 34 (88%). Myocarditis patients who had an abnormal ECG at presentation spent more time in the hospital, 5 (2–19) versus 2 ((1–3) days (p < 0.01), and in the ICU, 1 (0–6) versus 0 (0–1) days (p < 0.01). Myocarditis patients were more likely to have ST elevation on their ECG compared to control patients (41% versus 17%, p < 0.01). Patients with ST elevation at presentation had a higher peak troponin level, 18.4 (5.8–31.0) versus 7.7 (0–19.1) ng/ml, (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Over a quarter of patients with myocarditis had a normal ECG at presentation to the emergency department. Patients with an abnormal ECG at presentation spent more time in the hospital. The presenting ECG, particularly the presence of ST elevation, may correlate with other clinical markers and help direct early management decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Arrhythmia
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Myocarditis
  • Pediatric cardiology


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