Dressler's syndrome

Understanding Dressler's Syndrome

Dressler’s Syndrome is a rare inflammatory condition characterized by chest pain, fever, fatigue, and pericardial inflammation. It typically occurs in the aftermath of a heart attack or heart surgery and typically resolves with treatment.

The exact cause of Dressler’s Syndrome remains unknown. It is possible that Dressler’s Syndrome may be an autoimmune reaction, or an overreactive response of the body’s immune system. It typically occurs several weeks after a heart attack or cardiac surgery.


The primary symptom of Dressler’s Syndrome is chest pain, which may be described as a dull, throbbing ache. Other symptoms of Dressler’s Syndrome include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Rash

These symptoms may worsen at night.


Diagnosis of Dressler’s Syndrome typically begins with a physical exam and medical history. The doctor may order additional tests such as an EKG or chest X-ray to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.

Elevated levels of certain markers in the blood can indicate Dressler’s Syndrome. Examples of these markers include the C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and antinuclear antibodies.


Treatment for Dressler’s Syndrome typically involves the use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications. Corticosteroids are often used as well. Surgery may be recommended for patients who do not respond to medications.

In some cases, Dressler’s Syndrome may recur. If this happens, the patient may require long-term treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.