Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with your pericarditis?

Comment from: caleb28525, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

I am dealing with an unknown situation now. In May of 2011 I had fluid in the pleural area of my left lung had to be drained with a Pleurx tube and this past October my right side had a tube in the lung to drain off fluid. Both times the fluid tests yielded no bacteria or viral infections but blood counts on both white and red were high. Then this past Monday I had trouble breathing and the center of my chest hurt. I went into ER and was admitted straight to the ICU. There they found I had the heart fluid was inflamed but still no known cause. I talked with the doctors and they said the issue with my lungs and heart is related and I could have Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or any number of things. We are now undergoing extensive lab testing.

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Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 27

I am a 39 year old female with pericarditis. I initially first noticed something was wrong when I was walking up a steep hill at a waterpark with my kids. I am in very good shape and this was very abnormal to be short of breath. I had an episode last year where I fainted and hit my head on a railroad tie. The doctor is unclear if these two are related, but I do have abnormal T waves on my EKG as well as one side of my heart is enlarged from the pericarditis. The anti-inflammatories actually do not seem to help and are very hard on my stomach. I have good days and I have bad days. This has been going on for almost two months now. I am going to see a cardiologist next week. They will most likely do another echocardiogram to see how it is doing. Hopefully by then it will be better. I am not getting discouraged it is just a little frustrating being so young and being held back from being as active as I normally am. Keeping my spirits up though that this shall too pass.

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Comment from: she104, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

One morning I woke up around two hours before I was supposed to get up for work with this nagging pain right in the middle of my chest. I took 3 Ibuprofen and went back to bed. Two hours later I woke up and was in extreme pain in the same spot. I tried coughing and began drinking water constantly. The pain did not go away. I then decided I should take an Aspirin as a precaution. After about an hour I decided to go to the urgent care center where they did an EKG and chest X-ray. They were both normal but the pain continued and would get worse when I would try to lie down or take deep breaths. I was told to go to the ER. Once there they took another EKG and it was normal. I then went to my primary doctor who ordered a CT scan of my upper chest including heart and the results showed something that could not be identified. A cardiologist was consulted and it was decided to do a TEE (transesophogeal echocardiagram) to rule out Aortic Dissection. Thank goodness I did not have that however the cardiologist indicated it was more than likely Pericarditis. I also have RA so it was indicated. The pain lasted for an entire day and resolved after taking narcotic pain meds in addition to steroids. However, for two weeks I was extremely exhausted and could not walk up and down stairs or walk for more than a half a block. I could not walk the grocery store or a mall or anywhere. I would run out of breath. By the 3rd week I was finally able to start walking again. I still take steroids and anti-inflammatories each day. It has been 4 weeks now. I hope this helps anyone to decide to go to the doctor, get checked out, be persistent and do the diagnostic tests. Have a great day.

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Comment from: Lauraf, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

I experienced pericarditis twice since having heart surgery; the most recent was with the worst symptoms. I still cannot lay flat without pressure and pain and yesterday I can say the pain was a ten on a scale of one to ten. Strangely enough my echocardiogram was normal even though my symptoms are so intense. I took Tylenol with Codeine when the pain was at its worst and it allowed me to feel like I could take a breath again. They're also treating me with Motrin to take down the inflammation. I think a big part of healing is getting diagnosed and of course going on the anti-inflammatory drugs.

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Comment from: dawngirl1975, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

With my pericarditis, I was very stressed, and I started to swell up. My eyes and face were swollen -- others at work noticed it first. In a week's time, I could not wear any of my clothes, and I could not lie on my back. I could not breathe. Soon I was unable to walk because my torso was hurting so bad. I was in the hospital a week before they figured it out. They finally did a CT scan and they saw my whole body, heart and lungs were outlined in fluid. They drained 20 pounds of fluid from me. My immune system attacked my heart and did some damage to one of the bottom sacs. I had to see a cardiologist for a while after that and do echocardiograms. She told me that if I don't get rid of the stress in my life that I would be six feet in the ground. I quit my job and started to take better care of myself. Now I am battling other stuff. Stress can kill you. Remember that.

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Patient Comments

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Pericarditis - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with 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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