Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with your pericarditis?

Comment from: Db9, Published: March 08

I was sick with a virus diagnosed as bronchitis and after two weeks it went away. I started lifting weights again and felt fine. After playing pickup basketball two weeks later I felt very slow and out of shape. I went home and felt fine and then three hours later I felt like I had a weight on my sternum and couldn't breathe. After being diagnosed with pericarditis, I have has a ton of trouble falling asleep and stress has hit me very hard. It has been impossible for me to sleep the night before a test (awful during midterms week) and I have slowly regained all of my original symptoms after initially improving.

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Comment from: Pericarditis-YUM!, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

Tight, crushing sensation in chest, which at times radiated down my left arm. Palpitations, fever, dry cough, fatigue. Deep breaths made it feel like my left lung and heart were rubbing together. Night sweats, got worse when lying down. Also, lots of anxiety because I didn't know what was happening. Dizziness, lightheadedness, could barely walk up a flight of stairs.

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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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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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