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Pericarditis Treatment

Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the thin, saclike tissue surrounding the heart (pericardium). Additionally, pericarditis often causes sharp chest pain. The chest pain rises when the irritated layers of the pericardium rub against each other. 

Pericarditis treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and prevent complications. Early diagnosis and treatment may help reduce the risk of long-term complications from pericarditis.

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About Pericarditis Treatment

The treatment of pericarditis focuses on reducing inflammation, relieving symptoms, and addressing the underlying cause if identified. The approach may involve medication, lifestyle modifications, and, in rare cases, more invasive procedures. 

Common symptoms include: 

  • Cough

  • Fatigue or general feeling of weakness or being sick

  • Leg swelling

  • Low-grade fever

  • Pounding or racing heartbeat (heart palpitations)

  • Shortness of breath when lying down

  • Swelling of the belly (abdomen)

Although, the specific symptoms depend on the type of pericarditis. The cause of pericarditis is often hard to determine. 

Procedure of Pericarditis Treatment

There's no specific prevention for pericarditis. However, taking these steps to prevent infections might help reduce the risk of heart inflammation. Most times, people with pericarditis only need medications for pericarditis treatment, depending on the suspected cause. However, if you have a fluid buildup in your pericardium, you might need to have the fluid drained. If you have constrictive pericarditis, you may need surgery. 

  1. Medications:
    a. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, are often prescribed as the first-line treatment for pericarditis. These medications help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and manage symptoms. They are typically used in combination with other therapies.
    b. Colchicine: Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory medication, may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and prevent recurrences of pericarditis. It is often used in conjunction with NSAIDs.
    c. Corticosteroids: In certain cases, corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may be prescribed to manage severe or recurrent pericarditis Medication that does not respond to NSAIDs or colchicine. These medications help reduce inflammation but are typically used for a limited duration due to potential side effects.

  2. Lifestyle Modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes can support pericarditis treatment. These may include resting, avoiding strenuous physical activity, and managing stress. Adequate rest helps reduce cardiac workload and promotes healing.

  3. Pericardiocentesis: In some cases of pericarditis Medication with significant fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) that causes cardiac compromise or persistent symptoms, a procedure called pericardiocentesis may be performed. During this procedure, a needle or catheter is inserted into the pericardial space to remove the excess fluid. This helps relieve symptoms and reduces the risk of complications.

  4. Pericardial Window Surgery: In rare instances when pericardial effusion recurs or becomes chronic, or if there is evidence of constrictive pericarditis, a surgical procedure called pericardial window may be performed. This involves creating a small opening in the pericardium to drain the fluid and prevent further accumulation. It helps relieve symptoms and improve cardiac function.

  5. Treatment of Underlying Causes: If an underlying cause of pericarditis, such as an infection or autoimmune disorder, is identified, specific treatment for the underlying condition will be initiated. This may involve antibiotics, antiviral medications, or immunosuppressive therapy, depending on the cause.

  6. Follow-up Care: Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the patient's progress, assess treatment effectiveness, and adjust medications if needed. Follow-up care helps ensure that symptoms are properly managed, the condition is adequately controlled, and any recurrences or complications are promptly addressed.

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