Pericarditis, also known as pericardial disease, is swelling or inflammation the pericardium sac of fluid surrounding the heart.
The main symptoms of pericarditis are a sudden, sharp and stabbing chest pain, or a dull ache chest pain that is often worse when lying down.
What causes pericarditis?
Causes of pericarditis include:
For some people, no cause can be found.
Pericarditis can be acute (occurring suddenly) or chronic (ongoing).
What are the symptoms of pericarditis?
When present, they may include:
How is pericarditis diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose pericarditis based on:
- Reported symptoms
- Physical examination
- Electrocardiography (ECG) results
Other tests may be performed to determine the cause of pericarditis.
How is pericarditis treated?
Treatment is based on the cause and may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs) to decrease the pain and inflammation.
- Steroids, used occasionally for severe attacks.
- Antibiotics, if the pericarditis is due to infection.
Most patients recover in two to four weeks.
What is constrictive pericarditis?
Constrictive pericarditis is a rare complication of pericarditis.
The pericardium becomes very thick or scarred.
What are the symptoms of constrictive pericarditis?
The symptoms are the same as pericarditis, with the addition of:
How is constrictive pericarditis diagnosed?
The same tests used to diagnose pericarditis are used to diagnose constrictive pericarditis. Other diagnostic tests used for constrictive pericarditis include:
- Chest X-ray
- CT scan
How is constrictive pericarditis treated?
Treatment may include:
- Analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents to treat pain or inflammation.
- Diuretics to treat heart failure symptoms.
- Antiarrhythmics to treat any heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation
- Pericardiotomy (the surgical removal of the stiff pericardium from the heart).