- 1 Definition
- 2 Disease Causes
- 3 Symptoms of pericarditis
- 4 Examinations in pericarditis
- 5 Course of disease
- 6 Similar conditions / differential diagnoses for pericarditis
- 7 Treatment of pericarditis
Heart bag (pericardium) is sac-shaped and surrounds the heart. It consists of two layers of connective tissue. Pericarditis means inflammation between these layers (visceral / inner layers and parietal / outer layers). Usually this space contains 15-50 ml of liquid (reference: Hoit PD, 2017). Pericarditis is pericarditis. In pericarditis, this volume can increase so that pressure occurs (tamponade) and the heart's pumping function (contractility) is reduced. Pericarditis is divided into acute (4-6 weeks), subacute, chronic (> 3 months) and recurrent (after 4-6 weeks symptom relief) forms. Usually a liquid is then a so-called exudate containing fibrin. Pericarditis is usually examined and treated by a cardiologist.
Autoimmune rheumatic disease
Autoinflammatory / Periodic Fever Syndromes
- Adult Stills disease, Auto-inflammatory conditions in children, Idiopathic (without known association with other disease). Treatment: Prednisone (for example 30 mg / day), Colchicine 0,5 mg tablets morning and evening for three months (additional months in case of relapse), Anakinra (Kineret), Canakinumab
After heart disease
- After a heart attack (Dressler syndrome); After heart surgery and other heart procedures
Symptoms of pericarditis
Acute pericarditis is one of the most common heart-bag diseases and a common cause of chest pain. The pain is felt behind the sternum and is sharp with varying intensity. It can radiate to the neck, jaw or arm, such as angina pectoris, but does not respond to nitroglycerin. The condition is most common in men aged 20-50 (Snyder MJ, 2014). Recurrent pericarditis accounts for 30% of cases.
Typical symptoms of pericarditis include Pain in the chest that is relieved by sitting up and worsens when lying flat (“… have to sit up all night…”) The pain can radiate to the shoulders and back. Fever. Feeling sick. High CRP in blood tests is common.
Examinations in pericarditis
Medical history should cover typical symptoms (see above), previous cases and predisposing conditions such as ongoing or recent infection and rheumatic diseases
Clinical medical examination includes auscultation of heart with stethoscope. One can hear pericardial rubbing sound at 35-80%. This is caused by friction between the tissue layers. However, the sound is variable and often only audible in certain locations and positions. With increasing fluid in the pericardium, the rubbing sound will disappear. Clinically, signs of infection, rheumatoid arthritis, concomitant "water on the lungs" (pleural fluid) and other signs of "systemic disease" are also considered.
Blood tests may include: SR, CRP, liver enzymes, leukocytes with differential count, platelets, peripheral blood smears, ferritin, CK, troponin, D-dimer, electrophoresis, AST, «rheumatoid samples» such as ANA, ANCA, anti-CCP. Antibody to the virus chlamydia pneumonia and a urine swab are also relevant.
Imaging with ultrasound of the heart (echocardiography), X-ray or CT of the lungs and / or MRI of the heart may be appropriate
ECG: shows signs of disease in> 50% (with ST elevation in acute stage, T-inversions later in the course).
Sspecial investigations: Drainage of pericardial fluid (pericardial synthesis) with analysis of pericardial fluid: leukocytes, cytology.
Course of disease
Complications: Cardiac muscle disease (15%), cardiac tamponade (1-2%), recurrent (15-30%), recurrent recurrence (6%), constructive pericarditis (chronic: 1-2%). Reference: Creams, 2016
Similar conditions / differential diagnoses for pericarditis
|Symptoms and findings||Acute pericarditis||Angina or heart attack||Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)|
|Location||Behind the sternum (retrosternal)||Behind the sternum||front, back or side of the chest|
|Duration||Hours to days||Minutes (angina) to hours (heart attack)||Hours to days|
|Symptom||Sharp, prickly, sometimes oppressive||Pressing, heavy, squeezing||Sharp, prickly|
|Change when changing position||Deterioration lying down, improvement in sitting or leaning forward.||in|
|Changed by breathing||Glass||in||Absent when holding your breath|
|Radiance||Jaw, neck, shoulder, one or both arms, between shoulder blades||Jaw, neck, shoulder, one or both arms||Shoulder|
|Response to nitroglycerin||in||Better||in|
|Friction sound when the doctor examines / auscultates||Occurs in 85% of patients||Absent (unless pericarditis is also present)||Rarely; 3%|
|Literature: Snyder MJ, 2014|
Treatment of pericarditis
In pericarditis, measures against possible underlying disease is important. NSAIDs against pain are most common symptom-relieving measures. In case of unknown cause or viral pericarditis, NSAIDs (eg ibuprofen 600-800 mg x 3) are often combined with Kolkisin tablets (eg 0,5 mg x 2 at weight> 70 kg, 0,5 mg x 1 at lower weight). In viral pericarditis, the symptoms will usually return after two weeks of treatment. Corticosteroids such as prednisolone are not the first choice, but may be necessary in some cases (Snyder MJ, 2014). Steroid-dependent recurrent pericarditis may benefit from supplemental immunosuppressive drugs (DMARDs) such as Imurel / azathioprine, IVIG (immunoglobulins) or anakinra (IL-1 receptor antagonist, biological) to reduce the need for corticosteroids (Finetti M, 2014). The medication is reduced and discontinued when the condition has calmed down.