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Pericarditis - bacterial

  • Alternative Names

    Purulent pericarditis


    The goal of treatment is to cure the infection.

    Medications include:

    • Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections
    • Analgesics to relieve pain
    • Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) to relieve inflammation of the pericardium
    • Diuretics to remove excess fluid

    Bedrest with the head of the bed raised may reduce the workload on the heart.

    Other treatments include:

    • Cutting a small hole (window) in the pericardium (subxiphoid pericardiotomy) to allow infected fluid to drain
    • Draining fluid from the pericardial sac (pericardiocentesis) to prevent or treat cardiac tamponade
    • Pericardial stripping or removing part of the pericardium (surgical pericardiectomy) if bacterial pericarditis is chronic or comes back

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The disorder may be life-threatening if untreated. The outcome is good if bacterial pericarditis is treated promptly. Most people recover completely with treatment.

    • Cardiac tamponade
    • Constrictive heart failure
    • Pulmonary edema

    Calling your health care provider