Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pericarditis.

Comment from: pugloverr, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

Two nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night. Then I noticed I have this pain on my left side under my breast bone. And my heart was racing and I had a hard time breathing. I thought it was nothing. I couldn't go back to sleep because when I lay flat I'd have a hard time breathing and felt the pain. But when I sat up or leaned forward I felt better but still had a hard time breathing. Then I went to the doctor yesterday and told the nurse and doctor how I felt. They did the typical heart rate check and the doctor listened to how my breathing was and automatically knew it was pericarditis. He prescribed me methylprednisolone 4 mg Dosepak that I have to take for 6 days and told me I should be fine after. I started the medication yesterday and it is starting to help. There is a little the pain but it doesn't hurt as much. I am still having a hard time breathing a little but it's only my second day on the medication. I have a while to go still hopefully after this I'll be better.

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Comment from: dlmtnfolks, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 29

I felt pressure with pain like a fist full of knuckles on my sternum and my back, trying to meet in the middle. I have a bad back so jumped in the shower to try to relax it and just in case I wanted to be fresh in case I needed to go the emergency room (ER). No relief, so off I went to the ER. Upon admission I had a positive troponin, so off to the catheter lab. I had no blockages, then I had echocardiogram; no aneurism, and no heart failure. I was sent home after 1.5 days on colchicine and ibuprofen. ] I have determined that this was an acute phase of a chronic problem. I have rheumatoid arthritis, my problem was diagnosed as pericarditis caused by an acute exacerbation of inflammation. Once it was determined that I was not in an acute life or death threat, it seems I was no longer interesting and am having to 'drive the bus' myself. My last visit to the cardiologist was, 'we don't know why and we don't know how to keep it from happening again'.

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Comment from: Robif, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 02

Two weeks ago I was hit by a turning 4 wheel drive as I was doing 50 to 60 kph on my motorbike. I suffered severe bruising to my ribs, right hip, a broken hand and some lacerations. Upon hitting the ground I felt an excruciating pain in my chest, particularly around the base of the sternum, which from the pain felt it was broken. After a thorough examination, ECG, CT scan, x-rays and ultrasound, no breaks or fractures were noticeable. The focus on my short hospital visit was my busted hand which was wired up. The morphine administered seemed to alleviate the chest pain from a 9/10 to a 3/10. Upon discharge the pain in my chest increased culminating in again a 10/10 pain from the center of my back through to my sternum. Back to ICU where pericarditis was diagnosed after many tests. I was put on Voltaren (nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory), pantoprazole (Actavis) for gastric protection and Colgout (colchicine) for the pericarditis. Since returning home I have suffered incredible gut pains after medication and eating, sometime lasting 3 to 4 hours. It is New Year's Eve now and not much can be done. I believe that my pericarditis was related to the accident (trauma).

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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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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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