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Pericarditis - after heart attack

  • Alternative Names

    Dressler syndrome; Post-MI pericarditis; Post-cardiac injury syndrome; Postcardiotomy pericarditis


    The goal of treatment is to make the heart work better and reduce pain and other symptoms.

    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or aspirin may be used to treat inflammation of the pericardium. Usually aspirin, even in high doses, is preferred in early post-MI pericarditis. In extreme cases, when other medicines don't work, steroids or colchicine may be used.

    In some cases, excess fluid surrounding the heart (pericardial effusion) may need to be removed. This is done with a procedure called pericardiocentesis. If complications develop, part of the pericardium may need to be removed with surgery (pericardiectomy).

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The condition may come back, even in people who receive treatment. In some cases, untreated pericarditis can be life threatening.

    • Cardiac tamponade
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Constrictive pericarditis

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You develop symptoms of pericarditis after a heart attack
    • You have been diagnosed with pericarditis and symptoms continue or come back, despite treatment