Objective: ST-elevations in electrocardiogram (ECG) secondary to an acute myocarditis may mimic ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). It is vital to distinguish between the two entities to avoid inappropriate clinical management and complications.
Case Presentation: A previously well 19-year-old male presented with two episodes of central chest pain which were resolved spontaneously. His presentation was preceded by multiple episodes of vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Physical examination was unremarkable except for a low-grade temperature of 37.7°C. The first ECG revealed ST-segment elevations in anterior leads without reciprocal changes. Serial ECGs showed increasing ST elevations and his cardiac markers were significantly raised. As the initial clinical presentation was potentially an acute coronary syndrome, he was instinctively treated with anti-platelets. Fortunately, this patient was not given thrombolysis as there were clinical suspicions of an acute myocarditis due to his young age, presence of viral symptoms, and absence of cardiac risk factors. Subsequent cardiac MRI confirmed the diagnosis of an acute myocarditis.
Conclusion: An acute myocarditis is well known but less common presentation of viral infections. ST-segment elevations in ECG of any young patients with chest pain but without risk factors for acute coronary syndrome should always raise the suspicion of acute myocarditis especially in the presence of viral symptoms. Investigations such as cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) should be carried out emergently to distinguish both conditions.