Pericarditis is defined as inflammation of the pericardium. Oftentimes, this inflammation is mild and brief. On the other hand, there are cases where it can lead to serious ailments and even damage to the heart.
Pericarditis can be triggered by various conditions such as heart attack, infection, chest trauma, autoimmune ailments, kidney failure, cancer or certain medications.
What are the associated signs?
The usual indication of pericarditis is chest pain. Generally, the discomfort can be intense and often aggravated by positional changes or deep breathing.
An individual with the condition might also experience shortness of breath and fever.
Management of pericarditis
The treatment for an acute case of pericarditis is to identify and treat the underlying cause. The symptoms typically settle with anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics. In most cases, the condition settles in a few weeks and does not leave any lasting heart issues.
When it comes to cardiac tamponade, it is managed with drainage of the fluid from the pericardial sac using a catheter. The removal of the fluid alleviates the pressure on the heart and restores the normal heart function.
For chronic cases of pericarditis, it is managed by aggressively treating the underlying inflammatory condition as well as drainage of the pericardial effusion.
In case pericardial effusion persists, surgery is performed to create a permanent opening that enables the drainage of fluid from the pericardial sac to prevent tamponade.
As for the constrictive form of pericarditis, the symptoms can be managed with bed rest, digitalis and diuretics. A definitive treatment necessitates surgery to get rid of the rigid pericardial lining away from the heart.