Doctor's Notes on Pericarditis
Pericarditis is the condition where the thin membrane that lines the outside of the heart becomes inflamed. It can be double layered and normally holds less than 50 mL of fluid. Signs and symptoms of pericarditis are mainly chest pain described as sharp and pleuritic (increases when the person takes a deep breath or increases when the patient lies flat or decreases when the patient leans forward). This pain can radiate to the back or left shoulder.
Associated symptoms are
The most common cause of pericarditis is considered idiopathic, meaning the reason or cause cannot be determined. However, there are different known less frequent causes such as infections, especially viral types, bacterial infections (like TB), some parasites, and fungi. Other associated causes may be inflammatory diseases, kidney disorders, heart attacks, hyperthyroidism, cancers, radiation therapy, trauma, and as a side effect of some medications like procainamide, phenytoin, and others.
What are the treatments for pericarditis?
The treatments for pericarditis depend on the cause and symptoms in an individual. Mild pericarditis may get better on its own but some individuals may require other interventions. For example:
- Pain control (aspirin, ibuprofen, or prescription-strength)
- Pericarditis caused by bacteria require antibiotic treatment
- Pericarditis caused by inflammatory diseases usually need anti-inflammatory medication
If fluid increases or if the pericardial sac becomes restrictive to the heart, you may need treatments that involve surgery:
- Pericardiocentesis – fluid drained from pericardial space by sterile needle or catheter
- Pericardiectomy – removal of the entire pericardium
Your doctors can help determine the treatments to reduce or stop your pericardial problems.
Heart Disease : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.See Answer
Must Read Articles:
Angina (Ischemic Chest Pain)Angina is a term to describe chest pain that occurs when the heart is not getting enough blood. There are two types of angina, stable (the most common) and unstable. Stable angina generally lasts less than 5 minutes and is relieved by nitroglycerin tablets. Angina may be caused by heart disease, coronary artery spasm, or other causes. Risk factors for angina include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, family history, aging, and stimulant use. Treatment depends upon the cause of angina.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)Atrial fibrillation (AFib) describes a rapid, irregular heart rhythm. The irregular rhythm, or arrhythmia, results from abnormal electrical impulses in the heart. Atrial fibrillation may be treated with medications or surgery. There are many causes of atrial fibrillation, for example, pneumonia, heart disease, alcohol use, and thyroid problems. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include chest pain and/or angina, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Atrial fibrillation is managed and treated with medication, medical procedures, and surgery.
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)Low blood pressure (hypotension) may be caused by heart conditions, intravascular fluid complications (dehydration, pneumonia, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding), medications, endocrine conditions, allergic reactions, orthostatic hypotension, diabetes, and micturition syncope. Low blood pressure may or may not have symptoms depending upon the cause. Treatment also depends upon the causes of low blood pressure.
SarcoidosisSarcoidosis is a disease that involves a specific type of inflammation of various tissues of the body. Sarcoidosis generally appears in the lungs, lymph nodes, skin, liver, heart, kidneys and nervous system. The cause of sarcoidosis is not clear. Common symptoms involve shortness of breath, chronic cough, skin rashes, weight loss. Treatment is geared to the location of the sarcoidosis.
Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)An upper respiratory tract infection is generally caused by a virus and treatment is directed at managing the symptoms of the infection. Viral infections are not responsive to antibiotics. The most common upper respiratory tract infection is the common cold. Upper respiratory infections are contagious thus prevention measures such as frequent hand washing and avoiding other that are ill are the most effective.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.