Acute Pericarditis

What is Acute Pericarditis?

Acute Pericarditis, also known as Pericarditis, occurs when the heart’s two-layered capsule (the pericardium) becomes inflamed. When the pericardium becomes inflamed, it rubs against the heart muscle and produces a chest pain. This condition can be caused by infections, autoimmune disorders, medicines, trauma, or radiation. Symptoms of acute pericarditis include chest pain, pain when breathing, and nausea. The chest pain is usually worse when lying down, coughs, or when breathing in deeply.

Symptoms of Acute Pericarditis

  • Sharp stabbing chest pain, usually located in the center of the chest
  • Pain that worsens when lying down, coughing, or breathing deeply
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue

Treatment of Acute Pericarditis

Treatment of acute pericarditis depend on the cause. If it is caused by an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. If it is caused by autoimmunity, medications that suppress the immune system such as corticosteroids may be prescribed. Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the pericardium or remove the excess fluid.

Prevention of Acute Pericarditis

To reduce the risk of acute pericarditis, it is important to get vaccinated against viruses and bacteria that can cause the condition. Additionally, avoiding overexposure to radiation and the use of certain medications can help reduce the risk. If you have an autoimmune disorder, it is important to take medications and other treatments as recommended by your doctor.