About 3 weeks ago, I suddenly and unexpectedly developed sharp pains under my left breastbone and the left side of my back. After performing an EKG and conducting an examination, my cardiologist of 2 years diagnosed it as idiopathic pericarditis/pleurisy, and instructed me to take ibuprofen. The pain largely dissipated over the first week, leaving me with symptoms of labored breathing in my left lung, and a popping type sound around my heart that is somewhat uncomfortable and unsettling when I lay on my left side. I have been sleeping on my right side for over 3 weeks. It is difficult to breathe when I lay on my left side. As of today, the labored breathing and popping noises have improved overall, but I have days when I seem to relapse. My only symptoms at this time are labored breathing on my left side, and the popping/sloshing sound in the vicinity if my heart. Also, I can no longer palpate my heart beat when lying on my left side, and placing my right hand under the left side of my rib cage.
I also have an aortic root aneurysm (4.8 cm) and PVC's. It leaves me to wonder whether or not these conditions contributed to the pericarditis.
How long does it take for something like this to completely resolve. Is my condition normal for this disease? Given my current status, it would seem that this condition would last well over a month. Is this a normal timeframe for healing for a 56-year old man? Is it possible that the other heart problems were a precursor of the pericarditis, and therefore indicates that I can expect more of the same in the future? One of the weird (but good) side effects of the pericarditis is that the PVC’s have diminished since the onset of pericarditis. Thank you for your help.
Viral pericarditis typically resolves with ibuprofen in a couple of weeks, however, we have seem chronic effusive pericariditis that almost never goes away, and may even lead to further problems. I am assuming that you had an echocardiogram to evaluate your aorta and to look for a pericardial effusion. I would get that done with your history of aneurysm. The PVC's may have gone away becuase you may have an effusion that is preventing you from feeling them. Again, an echo would be helpful. Typically, however, the amount of premature contractions increases because of the irritation. The fact that your symptoms, overall, seem to be getting better is a good sign. I don't think that your underlying cardiac condition is in any way related to your symptoms because of the way you presented, but I think that given your history one should have made sure that the two werent't related by conducting an echocardiogram. Given that you are ok and that your symptoms are improving the two are unrelated. Typically, when someone with an aneyrysm presents with pericarditis, it may be an emergency from aneurysm rupture and even though very rare, should be ruled out. Some pericardial diseases recur over time. there is no way to predict that.
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