Pericarditis can be caused by various viruses. It can be relieved with NSAIDs and corticosteroids, depending on the severity of symptoms. For more information, read on to learn more about the causes and treatments of pericarditis. In some cases, doctors may prescribe other medications as well.
Viruses cause pericarditis
Pericarditis is an inflammation of the thin membrane lining the heart. It usually goes away on its own after a few weeks or months, but it can recur. In most cases, recurrences are less severe and less frequent. However, the pericarditis can be a dangerous complication that requires urgent care.
Viruses cause infection by invading and commandeering healthy cells and then multiplying in the affected area. Viruses can infect many organs, including the heart. Pericarditis occurs when a virus infects the pericardium, the lining around the heart. The disease typically causes a sharp pain in the left side of the chest. Symptoms may include shortness of breath and pain when inhaling.
Pericarditis may also be caused by autoimmune diseases and respiratory infections. Those with autoimmune disorders are also more likely to develop the condition. For example, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can cause pericarditis. Inflammation in the pericardium is caused by viruses, including the herpes virus and the coxsackie virus.
A chest x-ray may be ordered to diagnose pericarditis. If there is a pericardial effusion, the shadow of the heart may appear enlarged on the x-ray. In most cases, however, chest x-rays show a normal heart and a small pericardial effusion.
In most cases, the pericarditis will present as cardiogenic shock, new-onset cardiomyopathy, or an ECG abnormality. In some cases, patients will also report a viral prodrome. While the incidence varies from 10% to 80%, it is important to note that the disease can occur in both asymptomatic and non-asymptomatic patients.
Molecular testing for viral infection is another option for diagnosis of pericarditis. It has higher sensitivity than viral isolation. Moreover, epicardial biopsies may be performed if there is a suspicion of neoplasm. The test is known as PCR.
Although viral replication in myocytes is directly damaging, most of the damage is caused by viral trigger interaction with the immune system. Viral entry through a receptor activates immune signalling systems, including tyrosine kinases. Tyrosine kinases are involved in triggering the inflammatory response. These signals are crucial for the proper functioning of the immune system.
NSAIDs reduce pericarditis symptoms
NSAIDs are an important part of the treatment for pericarditis. They reduce the pain and inflammation caused by pericarditis. These medications should be used in combination with colchicine to reduce the risk of recurrence of pericarditis.
NSAIDs have a number of adverse effects, including cardiovascular and respiratory risks. Aspirin can increase the risk of coronary artery disease and exacerbate respiratory disease. ASA can also cause heart failure and recurrent IP. These medications should not be used in the absence of a diagnosis.
The most common treatment for recurrent pericarditis involves the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs reduce the symptoms of pericarditis and are considered the cornerstone of treatment. However, one-fourth of treated patients will experience recurrence. The use of low-dose steroids as an adjunct to NSAIDs can also reduce the risk of recurrence.
Pericarditis is a relatively common cause of chest pain. It is responsible for about 5% of admissions to emergency departments for non-heart attack chest pain. It is generally idiopathic and viral in origin, although tuberculosis can also cause pericarditis. Patients with pericarditis usually complain of central chest pain with characteristic pericardial friction rub. The patient may require multiple evaluations, including electrocardiography, to rule out other causes of chest pain.
NSAIDs can reduce pericarditis symptoms in patients who have myopericarditis. However, their use is controversial, especially in the setting of severe cases. Regardless of whether they can reduce the pain and inflammation, it is important to use these drugs appropriately. If not, they may cause serious side effects.
Anti-IL-1 therapy is another option. It blocks the inflammatory process in the heart. It is a form of targeted therapy that has been approved by the FDA for use in periodic fever syndromes and recurrent pericarditis. In the meantime, it is important to consider the risk of gastrointestinal toxicity and to monitor patients carefully.
Anticoagulants also decrease the risk of hemopericardium, which can occur weeks or months after initiation of anticoagulation. Therefore, clinicians should carefully consider the risk-benefit ratios of anticoagulants when prescribing this therapy for patients with pericarditis.
Corticosteroids reduce pericarditis symptoms
Corticosteroids are widely used to reduce the symptoms of pericarditis. Although they induce a rapid clinical response, they may increase the risk of recurrent pericarditis. This is because they may allow the viral infection to re-replicate and further perpetuate pericardial inflammation. Although corticosteroids should be used only if other treatments have failed, physicians worry that withholding them may increase the risk of constrictive pericarditis.
The main symptom of pericarditis is a sharp, aching pain in the chest. In some patients, the pain worsens when the patient breathes. Patients with acute pericarditis may also experience pericardial effusion. Patients should undergo imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis and guide treatment. There are now targeted therapies for patients with recurrent and constrictive pericarditis.
Corticosteroids are often used as second-line treatments for pericarditis. While they may have some side effects, they are generally considered safe for use in a low-dose setting. In addition, low-dose corticosteroids have been shown to be superior to high-dose corticosteroids. Furthermore, these drugs may be safe for patients who have renal failure, are pregnant, or have autoimmune diseases that require the use of corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids may also be used for recurrent pericarditis. Despite the high side-effects, corticosteroids can reduce the severity of the symptoms in patients suffering from pericarditis. In some instances, corticosteroids can reduce the severity of the disease and can even be used as a preventive measure.
Aspirin and high-dose aspirin may also be used to reduce the symptoms of pericarditis. If the symptoms are persistent or if they come back after discontinuation of corticosteroids, an alternative treatment option may include immunosuppressive agents and pericardiectomy.
The symptoms of pericarditis may include chest pain, back of the shoulders pain, and trouble breathing. Your healthcare provider will discuss your symptoms with you and ask for your medical history. He or she will also ask about any heart conditions you have had before or whether you’ve undergone any surgeries.
In most cases, pericarditis is caused by infection. In developing countries, tuberculosis is the most common cause of acute pericarditis. Because of the HIV epidemic, the incidence of tuberculous pericarditis has increased dramatically. Other common causes are autoimmune diseases and post-cardiac procedures.
Treatment depends on severity of symptoms
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce pain and inflammation, but they can have harmful side effects. These medications include ibuprofen and aspirin. In severe cases, stronger medications may be prescribed. One example is colchicine (Colcrys), which shortens the duration of the symptoms and reduces the risk of pericarditis recurrence. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed, but they should only be used when symptoms are severe.
In addition to a physical examination, patients with symptoms of pericarditis should undergo a chest X-ray and echocardiogram. An echocardiogram can show the presence of fluid around the heart, which is the classic sign of constrictive pericarditis. A cardiac MRI is another test that can detect extra fluid in the pericardium and pericardial inflammation. It also looks for compression and thickening of the pericardium.
The most common symptom of pericarditis is chest pain, which may be acute or chronic. The pain may be a stabbing, aching pain that may radiate to the left shoulder or neck, and it may worsen with activity. Patients may have difficulty swallowing, bending over, or lying down. They may also have swollen legs or stomach. In severe cases, low blood pressure may also be a symptom.
The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to cardiovascular health. Their website covers a wide range of heart conditions in depth and provides helpful resources for both patients and caregivers. Everyday Health editors also recommend the Cleveland Clinic for information about heart conditions. The Cleveland Clinic also has a podcast on pericarditis, which can help patients learn more about the condition.
In severe cases, pericarditis may require pericardiocentesis or surgical removal of the pericardium. A CT scan is a common diagnostic tool to reveal thickening of the pericardium. A variety of medications can be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of pericarditis, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Many patients will improve on their own and go on to live normal lives. However, for others, the symptoms may recur. Approximately 15 to 25 percent of people with idiopathic pericarditis experience recurrence. To determine if you’re suffering from this condition, a health care provider will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Then, a doctor will listen to your heart for a crackling sound that can be a sign of pericarditis.