Diseases

Pericarditis: treatments

Medication

In case of pericarditis are prescribed treatments against inflammation: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or corticosteroids, plus rest. The anti-inflammatory treatment lasts about a week, although usually the pain passes quickly. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is necessary to investigate the causes, and a pericardial biopsy may be considered.

Antibiotics may be given in case of pericarditis of bacterial origin, but again, the doctor must have the proof before prescribing this treatment.

The use of surgery

A surgical operation is only indicated when one is in the stage of the chronic constrictive pericarditis, if the taking of drugs is not conclusive.

In the acute phase, surgery is normally used only in cases of major effusion: the presence of a considerable volume of fluid in the pericardium causes compression of the heart. This can progress to tamponade, that is to say, a significant shortness of breath of the patient.
In this case, there is a real surgical emergency: the puncture of the pericardium with the needle consists in draining the pericardium to evacuate the liquid.

Prevention and surveillance

Pericarditis is a disease that can relapse. To reduce the risks, it is advisable to lead a healthy life, to have a balanced diet, to avoid smoking and to limit the consumption of alcohol.

It is also essential to regularly check your blood pressure, and to find out if you have diabetes and to check your cholesterol levels.

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