Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pericarditis.

Comment from: flmom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I went to the emergency room with horrible chest pain and difficulty breathing. It hurt taking breaths in and out. They kept me overnight to do tests and they all came back great except CT scan which showed a small amount of fluid around my heart. They want me to see a cardiologist.

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Comment from: A, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 22

Just over a month ago I was doing some shopping and felt very light headed like I was about to faint. I rested and then came straight home and went to bed. I felt extremely fatigued and light headed. A couple of days later whilst resting I was struggling to breathe - I had chest pain which extended through my left shoulder and down my arm to my hand. Then my heart started racing to 140 bpm. I'm only 44 and fairly healthy but this gave me a real fright. I thought I was having a heart attack. I called an ambulance. After many tests, X-rays, ECGs, ultrasound, and echo, I was diagnosed with pericarditis. It's been over four weeks now and every time I think I'm getting a little better and push myself, I fall backwards a week in progress. It's a slow recovery and seems to require a lot of resting and patience. I'm on ibuprofen and colchicine to bring down the inflammation. I don't seem to get relief by leaning forward; nor does lying down seem to make it worse.

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Comment from: Babysmoocher, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

It started out with weird fainting type spells and chest pain to under left shoulder blade pain. For the first week after trips to the emergency room (ER) thinking I was surely having a heart attack they just brushed it off as panic attack. Even though I have never dealt with that anxiety in my life. Fast forward a week, I went to do a stress test and on the Echo it said I had pericarditis. Its peak of horribleness was 3 weeks during which I went to the pulmonologist because I couldn't breathe; if I barely exerted myself in any way my lungs would be screaming for air. They tested me there and I failed all the breathing tests and when they exerted me and tested my saturation, my oxygen dropped into low 80s which freaked them out and I am now on oxygen. The pulmonologist suggested doing a heart catheter but my husband didn't want to and instead we decided I would take a strict medicine regimen for the pericarditis and meet back with the pulmonologist in two weeks. If I did not improve we would move forward with the heart catheter. I am now 7 days post seeing that pulmonologist having taken the 650 mg of aspirin 3 times a day and colchicine 2 times a day like it's my job and guess what! I didn't use my inhalers yesterday at all, barely used my oxygen, for 3 nights in a row I haven't awoken gasping for air! I believe my heart issue was causing my lung issue! I thought I was going to die. This is the sickest I have been in my life! I am just now seeing some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I still get the chest pains but they are not nearly as bad. The scariest thing was the shortness of breath. Never even heard of this nasty disease. I am just so grateful I am going to live and I feel as though I have been given a second chance at life.

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Comment from: Dgriff63, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 12

I was initially diagnosed with pericarditis in September 2011. I thought my GERD was acting up. It became excruciating chest pain with high fever. I went to the hospital and a very knowledgeable doctor diagnosed me immediately. She told me to take naproxen 500 mg dose three times daily for pericarditis. She said if I did not improve she would admit me to the hospital immediately. Next day my temperature was 102.5 degrees. I was hospitalized for 5 days trying to rule out lupus. I have all the symptoms except the butterfly rash to my face. I have pericarditis right now. Very painful and frustrating. I just want to know what I have once and for all so proper treatment can happen. I just got a new great primary physician; follow up EKG, echocardiogram and more blood work. I will request to see a rheumatologist also! Wish me answers. Wishes to all. Take care.

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Comment from: Wibbler, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I was diagnosed with pericarditis over Christmas. Three episodes of severe chest pains about two weeks apart put me in hospital overnight each time. I had a few weeks of no symptoms but now I have a constant back pain (between the shoulder blades) and a grumbling stomach. The severe pain has not returned. I do get woken up in the night but nothing that I cannot deal with. Episodes seems to last up to three hours then subside. Top tip - a hot water bottle against the chest works wonders for pain relief.

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Pericarditis - Symptoms and Signs Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with your pericarditis?
Pericarditis - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment or procedures did you or a relative receive for pericarditis?
Pericarditis - Causes Question: Did an inflammatory disease or infection cause your pericarditis? What was the cause?

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