Pericarditis

  • Treatment

    The cause of pericarditis must be identified, if possible.

    Medications include:

    • Analgesics for pain
    • Antibiotics for bacterial pericarditis
    • Antifungal medications for fungal pericarditis
    • Aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen for inflammation of the pericardium
    • Corticosteroids such as prednisone (in some patients)
    • Colchicine

    If the buildup of fluid in the pericardium makes the heart function poorly or produces cardiac tamponade, it is necessary to drain the fluid from the sac. This procedure, called pericardiocentesis, may be done using an echocardiography-guided needle or minor surgery.

    If the pericarditis is chronic, recurrent, or causes constrictive pericarditis, cutting or removing part of the pericardium may be recommended.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    Pericarditis can range from mild cases that get better on their own to life-threatening cases. The condition can be complicated by significant fluid buildup around the heart and poor heart function.

    The outcome is good if the disorder is treated promptly. Most people recover in 2 weeks to 3 months. However, pericarditis may come back.


    Complications
    • Arrhythmias
    • Cardiac tamponade
    • Constrictive pericarditis, which may develop into heart failure

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you experience the symptoms of pericarditis. This disorder can be life threatening if untreated.