Whether it is the first episode or a recurrence, pericarditis can be quite painful and incredibly scary. Patients report that, even if they know the cause, a recurrence still feels like a heart attack, compelling them to go to the emergency room for necessary treatment - The Heart of Inflammation


image by: Pericarditis Warrior

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He Thought He Just Had the Flu at First. Then His Heart Could Barely Pump

They weren’t looking for a diagnosis, the middle-aged woman explained. Her husband had a diagnosis. They just wanted help figuring out why, even with all the treatments he was getting, he wasn’t getting better.

Until a year and a half earlier, her 54-year-old husband had been perfectly healthy. Never missed a day of work, never took so much as an aspirin. Then he got what he thought was the flu. But even after the fever and congestion went away, the terrible body aches remained. He coughed constantly and felt so tired that just walking to the mailbox would leave him panting for air and shaking with fatigue.

Still, he went back to work. He enjoyed his job driving a locomotive…

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 He Thought He Just Had the Flu at First. Then His Heart Could Barely Pump

In this disorder, the pericardium is injured — usually by a viral infection — and as it heals, it shrinks. Stuck in this shrunken jacket, the heart can only pump a fraction of the blood needed by the body. Could the virus that caused the flulike symptoms at the start of this illness have attacked his pericardium?

Jack Dulson Memorial Fund

Along with enabling young people to achieve, The Jack Dulson Memorial Fund aims to raise awareness of Staphylococcus aureus and Pericarditis and provide others with much-needed information and support.

Pericarditis Warrior

Personal blog about my journey with pericarditis.

Resonance Registry

The RESONANCE Registry is currently looking for people with pericarditis to participate in research to help physicians and patients understand more about pericarditis.

Myocarditis Foundation

In the United States, there is no consensus on diagnostic guidelines for doctors to follow when pericarditis is suspected. However, the European Society of Cardiology has outlined their criteria, which requires two of the four following symptoms to occur in order to be diagnosed...

Cleveland Clinic

Pericarditis is usually acute — it develops suddenly and may last up to several months. If you could see and touch it, the membrane around the heart would look red and swollen, like the skin around a cut that becomes inflamed. Sometimes excess fluid develops in the space between the pericardial layers and causes a pericardial effusion (buildup of excess fluid around the heart).

Harvard Health Publishing

In many people with pericarditis, the initial trigger is a viral infection. However, the inflammation may not be a direct result of the infection. Instead, the virus may stimulate the immune system to attack and inflame the pericardium.

Mayo Clinic

Pericarditis is a swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane that surrounds your heart. Pericarditis often causes chest pain and sometimes other symptoms. Pericarditis may be acute or chronic. The sharp chest pain associated with acute pericarditis occurs when the pericardium rubs against the heart's outer layer.


The cause of pericarditis in most patients is unknown but is likely due to viral infection. Pericarditis may be an associated complication of many diseases or may be due to trauma.


Pericarditis is usually a complication of viral infections, most commonly echovirus or coxsackie virus. Less frequently, it is caused by influenza or HIV infection. Infections with bacteria can lead to bacterial pericarditis (also called purulent pericarditis). Some fungal infections can also produce pericarditis.


In the majority of patients, empiric treatment with high dose anti-inflammatory agents in addition to colchicine is recommended, and NSAID therapy should continue until symptom relief. This period is typically between 3 days to 2 weeks.

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