Causes and Complications of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Heart Or Lung Inflammation

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Heart or lung inflammation may develop as Rocky Mountain spotted fever progresses. Inflammation that occurs in or around the heart is known as myocarditis. Patients with myocarditis may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, heart rhythm abnormalities, fatigue, and swelling in the feet or lower limbs. Echocardiograms and MRI scans can help doctors assess the severity of myocarditis. Generally, myocarditis will resolve on its own if Rocky Mountain spotted fever is treated successfully. In some cases, myocarditis can progress to heart failure, and patients may need a heart transplant.

There are many types of lung inflammation, and patients with this complication often have a cough, shortness of breath, and unintentional weight loss. To diagnose lung inflammation, doctors will perform blood tests, CT scans, chest x-rays, and pulmonary function tests. Patients who experience severe breathing difficulties may need to use supplemental oxygen therapy at home, and corticosteroids may be beneficial for some patients.

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Emily Fowler