Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pericarditis.

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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Comment from: Busy Mom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

My first episode was in 2006 or 2007 when I felt some pain deep inside when I tried to get a good breath. The pain moved into my arms, chest and back, increasing over three days. It peaked on day 4 then slowly diminished over the next 3 days. That pattern became a typical flare up. I thought it was a pulled muscle to begin with. Several months later it happened again and this time I went to the doctor thinking I was possibly having a heart attack. My EKG and x-rays looked okay so I just took ibuprofen to get through the pain. This happened every 3 to 5 months for the next few years, I was misdiagnosed with costochondritis. I also had my gallbladder checked as the pain was bad in my shoulder. I ended up in the emergency room twice with severe pain and unable to get a breath. It hurt the most lying down. The episodes got closer and closer until 2010 when the pain wouldn't stop. I was put on prednisone full time and that helped. I was finally diagnosed with idiopathic pericarditis and am currently under a cardiologist's care, trying to get off prednisone. Every time I go below 4 mg, I get a flare up and have to increase again. Sometimes I get a flare up even when I'm on 4mg of prednisone. Colchicine worked well but it raised my liver enzymes so I had to quit. I also take 400mg ibuprofen a day. In addition to medications I have tried various alternative supplements and going gluten free, which didn't help at all. I worked with a rheumatologist for 8 months thinking it was an auto-immune disorder that may have caused this. But those medicines didn't make any difference. My cardiologist thinks it will go away with time.

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Comment from: waitinginfaith, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

Initially, I had chest pain on my left side all day except when I went to sleep. The pain was bearable. The pain went away for a few days and returned during a family trip. From that point on, the pain increased. The pain increased during and after physical activity. I also noticed that it was worse when I slightly leaned back. Leaning forward relieved the pain. When I returned home I went to my doctor and he immediately diagnosed it as pericarditis. Just to be sure, he ran an EKG and noticed the inflammation in the sac around the heart. He said it is caused by a virus and will take up to two weeks to heal. He prescribed to me Norco (I have to take two pills to relieve the pain, but end up being nauseous). He also gave me an anti-inflammatory drug. He did a blood test to make sure there aren't any other contributing factors. I'm waiting for the results. Stress makes the pain worse. Sitting still quietly for long periods of time seems to lower my pain level. I am on day twelve and I am hoping to have it resolved soon.

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

I was working some long hours and lifting some heavy merchandise when I felt my left shoulder blade start to hurt. I thought little of it, probably just a strained muscle. Then a week went by and it felt worse and I felt a little feverish, still I thought it was from the overtime. I had a vacation coming up and felt I could just sleep it off. That night I felt the pain move from my left shoulder right across my chest to my right shoulder. I tried going to bed, but no matter how I was positioned in the bed the pain got worse. Eventually I managed to get ten minutes of sleep standing up propped up against the bathroom sink. For the pain, I took about seventeen Aspirins over the course of five hours. My breathing was little shallow puffs as my lungs were collapsing. The pain felt like someone twisting my left arms until it was about to break, while someone else was sticking an icepick in my neck, while a third person was sitting on my chest and rubbing my chest with sandpaper from the inside. I didn't react to any pain medication except morphine which worked for a mere twenty minutes, then it was back to the grueling pain. I was given some antibiotics and some sort of pain killers and was sent home after two days in the hospital. I was also given a warning that it would recur about every two to three years. Well so far, nothing. And I wish this on no one.

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Patient Comments

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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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