About Pericarditis Treatment
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What is Pericarditis?
This is a medical condition that causes swelling and irritation of the pericardium, which is a thin fluid-filled sac-like membrane surrounding your heart. When the pericardium layers rub against each other they cause an irritation that leads to chest pain and swelling. Most pericarditis cases are not severe and do not require medical attention. However, severe cases may require medication or surgery.Types of pericarditis
What are the symptoms of pericarditis?
- Acute pericarditis: Symptoms present like flu and last for less than three months. Symptoms resolve within a week if medication is used.
- Recurring pericarditis: This is when acute pericarditis occurs repeatedly.
- Chronic pericarditis: This is when symptoms last for more than three months
Causes of pericarditis
- The main and most common symptom is chest pain.
- It may present as a sudden sharp pain behind your breastbone although sometimes it may be more of a dull ache.
- The pain is worsened by lying down or inhaling and sitting up usually relieves it.
This condition usually affects men between the ages of 20 to 50. It often results after viral infections such as influenza, echovirus or Coxsackie virus. It may also be due to bacterial or fungal infections although this is not common. It also occurs in people with diseases and conditions such as:Treatment
- HIV infection and AIDS
- Kidney failure
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Rheumatic fever
- Heart attack
- Heart surgery or trauma to the chest, esophagus, or heart
- Certain medicines, such as hydralazine, procainamide, isoniazid, and phenytoin
- Drugs used to suppress the immune system or treat cancer
- Radiation therapy to the chest
- Swelling or inflammation of the heart muscle
- Acute pericarditis: This is usually treated with medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which aim at reducing the swelling and decreasing the pain. Antibiotics and antifungal medications may be given if there is presence f a bacterial or fungal infection respectively. Other medications include corticosteroids and diuretics.
- Recurring pericarditis: This is usually treated with a medication called colchicines, which aims at preventing the return of symptoms.
- Chronic pericarditis: Treatment for chronic pericarditis aims at treating the underlying cause. While some cases respond well to medication, surgery may have to be performed on others.
Risks : Complications of pericarditis:
Fluid buildup in the pericardium
If fluid builds up in the pericardium the heart may function poorly. Treatment for this includes:
-Pericardiocentesis: This is a procedure which may be done using an echocardiography-guided needle to drain the fluid from the sac.
-Subxiphoid pericardiotomy: This procedure cuts a small hole in the pericardium. This drains the fluid into the abdominal cavity. This procedure is usually done if the pericarditis is chronic, recurring r causes tightening and scarring of the tissue around the pericardium.
-Cardiac tamponade: is a rare complication that can be triggered by pericarditis. It causes an excess buildup in the pericardium. This results in the heart’s inability to beat properly because of the pressure caused by the extra fluid. This complication causes symptoms that include:
--Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
--Chest pain resembling that of a heart attack
This complication is life-threatening and you should seek immediate medical attention if you develop any of the symptoms above.
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