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Myocardial and pericardial diseases are uncommon problems in childhood that can present as isolated diagnoses or as part of systemic diseases. Although they can have the same etiologies, and symptoms often overlap, their prognosis and treatment differ significantly. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis because clinically apparent myocarditis is much more likely to be life-threatening, and rapidly so, than pericarditis. Children with suspected myocarditis or pericarditis should be sent to an emergency department, where access to specialists with expertise in these diseases is available. The key is early suspicion for these entities to make a timely referral and diagnosis and institute appropriate therapies and interventions.

Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease of the myocardium due to a myriad of causes and resulting in variable degrees of myocardial dysfunction. The true incidence of myocarditis is likely underestimated because the disease can...

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