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What is acute pericarditis?

What is acute pericarditis?

Acute pericarditis is a painful condition where the fluid-filled pouch around your heart is inflamed. This can happen because of infections, cancer or heart surgery.

What causes acute pericarditis?

Pericarditis may be caused by infection, autoimmune disorders, inflammation after a heart attack, chest injury, cancer, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), kidney failure, medical treatments (such as certain medicines or radiation therapy to the chest), or heart surgery.

What is the treatment for acute pericarditis?

Acute pericarditis should be treated with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), typically with a 2- to 4-week taper after the resolution of symptoms. In addition, a 3-month course of colchicine (with weight-adjusted dosing) is recommended to reduce the risk of recurrent pericarditis.

How is acute pericarditis diagnosed?

To diagnose pericarditis, a health care provider will usually examine you and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. A stethoscope is typically placed on the chest and back to listen to heart sounds. Pericarditis causes a specific sound, called a pericardial rub.

What are the symptoms of acute pericarditis?

A common symptom of acute pericarditis is a sharp, stabbing chest pain, usually coming on quickly. It’s often is in the middle or left side of the chest, and there may be pain in one or both shoulders. Sitting up and leaning forward tends to ease the pain, while lying down and breathing deep worsens it.

Is acute pericarditis serious?

Both types of pericarditis can disrupt your heart’s normal function. In rare cases, pericarditis can have very serious consequences, possibly leading to abnormal heart rhythm and death.

Is acute pericarditis curable?

With constrictive pericarditis, the only cure is surgery known as a pericardiectomy to remove the pericardium. This is only done when symptoms become severe.

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