For a diagnosis and prognosis may depend on the underlying cause. It is often caused by a virus. It may also caused by bacteria (including mycobacterium tuberculosis), fungi, or parasites.
Complication of pericarditis can be constriction of heart wall movement and that can keep the heart from pumping well. Some people develop shortness of breath, swollen legs and feet, and other symptoms of heart failure. The complication (if severe) may require the need for surgery to remove the scarred part of the pericardial sac. This helps loosen the pericardium's tight hold around the heart and allows the heart to pump more effectively
There is also a noninfectious pericarditis that can be caused by disease of the underlying heart muscle, injury, cancer, and other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, medications (minoxidil, penicillin), lupus erythematosus, and kidney failure. The inflammation may cause a thickening and roughening of the membrane and an accumulation of fluid in the sac surrounding the heart.
"Viruses that cause pericarditis can sometimes attack the heart muscle and therefore, in rare cases, patients also develop heart-rhythm abnormalities or heart failure. Chronic pericarditis may cause the pericardium to lose its elasticity, causing a constriction of the heart. If the heart is unable to function normally because of pericardial constriction, surgery to remove part of the pericardium may be required".
Analgesics (pain medications), ranging from aspirin to morphine, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs may be given to ease the pain or reduce the inflammatory reaction of acute pericarditis. No further treatment may be necessary for pericarditis caused by a viral infection, which tends to clear by itself within a few weeks. If an underlying treatable cause for the pericarditis can be identified, further treatment will be directed towards its alleviation.... If your doctor states the condition is lifelong, then it may be a reference to damaged heart muscle caused by inflammation.
I know this post is months old but I thought I'd make a few comments. I too have pericarditis. Mostly, it's caused by a virus. Saying whether or not it's life threatening is complex because often times pericarditis is a symptom of an underlying condition- in my case, all of my bloodwork and heart tests turned out normal so if that's the case for you, it's HIGHLY unlikely that it will ever be life threatening. If your doctor says it's okay for you to workout then I would continue working out. If you have no other risk factors for heart disease then I wouldn't worry too much
I'm on my 4th bout with pericarditis in the last 5 months. The first two times the Dr. had me take ibuprohen and the 3rd time we tried steroids only for it to return after a few weeks. I didn't go back to the Dr. this time and just started taking ibuprohen. I don't think my pericarditis is too severe, but I'm still concerned about it causing damage to my heart. I do have MVP which has gotten worse (moderately severve-per the Dr.) this past year. I think I've had sinus drainage everytime the pericarditis has returned and wondered if this might be the cause. Very frustrated, tired and it's hard to work when this happens which has been about once a month. Any thoughts, suggestions would be appeciated!
Hi, alot of the pericarditis info has been covered in previous posts. It is usually more of a pain in the butt errr chest. But its not lifethreatening. Sometimes it can make the pericardium less elastic and that can cause problems but that is rare. Like a heart wrapped in rubber bands or in a candy shell like an m&m candy with calcium buidup. That is cured by removing the percardium. Again, rare.
Chronic percarditis where it continues to return is just frustrating but we in our clinic treat it quite effectively with colchicine with great results
My 25 year old daughter has developed Pericarditis. She had a cardiac ablation on October 16th and then again on November 23rd and developed the Pericarditis on December 30th. She was in California when it developed (she lives in Chicago while attending law school) and her uncle, who is a neurosurgeon, was able to refer her to a cardiologist. They started her on high does of ibuprofen and then after 5 days switched her to naprosen and Colchicine. The colchicine worked at first on the pain, but now she is in such severe pain that she cannot sleep and had to drop one class at school because she cannot concentrate with the pain. Her EP (surgeon who did the ablations) did not want to put her on steroids, but at this point I don't know what else to do. Meg has a very high pain tolerance, she underwent the last ablation with no anethesia at all, so she must be just paralized with pain for her to drop a class as a 3L. Any advise or suggestions would be much appreciated by this worried Mom!
Sorry, I'm new to this. Hope I don't commit any faux pas.
I have likely had many misdiagnosed bouts of acute pericarditits over the past 3 decades. Now I have chronic constrictive pericarditis with diasystolic heart failure. No fun indeed, but I am feeling better after going to the Cleveland Clinic and getting on a new Rx regimen. That may not be an option for you given geography, but they do long distance consults by telecommunications. Check out http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/other/pericarditis.aspx
It didn't look like you were on any medication to actually treat your pericarditis. You must get the inflammation down if you don't want to end up with just a bunch of inelastic scar tissue surrounding your heart. Three medications I was put on are prednisone, ibuprofen, and colchicine. All three of these drugs are generic so there aren't any advertising resources to get patients' attention. But they are relatively cheap. They also have me on a diuretic to get rid of excess water. And I take potassium HCl, magnesium citrate, & calcium citrate to keep my electrolytes in balance and counter act the steroids tendency to leach minerals out of one's system.
Since inflammation is the problem, an anti-inflammation diet might be worth checking out. Check out the "Inflammation Factor". I think that www.livestrong.com and http://inflammationfactor.com/look-up-if-ratings/ has good links there. Caution: lots of contradictory information on this topic on the web. I went with the "IF" model. It is a multi-factor model that combines inflammatory indicators from multiple sources and combines them into one number or score for each food.
Get your doctor to consult with Cleveland Clinic, or at least do the research and share it with your MD. Many doctors don't see much of this, don't treat it aggressively enough, and don't get good outcomes. Cleveland Clinic treats like 1100 cases of pericarditis per year. Check it out. God bless.