Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with your pericarditis?

Comment from: Lyn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I am 56 years old and work full time. On Tuesday, 6/21/16 I'd been at work about an hour. I move around quite a bit in a large 1 story building where part of the air conditioning has not been working properly. Rather suddenly, I became very winded, arms felt like lead, had a dry persistent cough, and there was a definite heaviness in the center of my breast-bone. I moved very slowly, no choice, due to shallow breathing, having to sit frequently. I couldn't speak more than 4 words without taking a few breaths, and I seemed to stumbling over my words and finding my thought process to be slightly impaired. I had been extremely fatigued for about 6 weeks prior. I was trying to hold off seeking medical attention until 8:00 when a nearby Med-Pointe was to open. But a half-hour of this worsening convinced me I needed to go to the emergency room (ER). It took me forever it seemed, to walk from my car into the ER department. I was wheeled immediately into a room and hooked up to a machine monitoring my heart. I have a history of bronchitis and pneumonia and I honestly thought that what was wrong, they'd give me a treatment, order a prescription and I'd be on my way. Wrong! Eleven hours and multiple tests/x-rays later, I was given the diagnosis of pericarditis. Thankfully not enough excess fluid to warrant admittance or a procedure. I was told that within a week my symptoms and the excess fluid should be gone and was sent on my way. No restrictions, and no medicines. Well, I'm getting scared. I had to leave work later this week due to the symptoms returning, and even though I've kept myself inside, today I have been miserable, with the shortness of breath and heaviness in the chest. Being cool, and trying to keep stress at a minimum seems to help the symptoms. I'm so very glad I listened to my body and the 'something's not right' feeling.

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Comment from: bob, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 10

I had severe pain in center of chest moving into my shoulders. The pain stayed static, and I had put it down to indigestion as I suffer from that. I also suffer from COPD and arthritis, and my wife made me go to the hospital where eventually a prescription of ibuprofen and paracetamol gradually eased the pain. I had a slight recurrence a few days later but nothing since. The doctor believes it was pericarditis, and I am now going to be attending the cardio unit for further tests.

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Comment from: Gaynor, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 12

I first noticed crackling in the back of my throat when I was resting and shallow breathing which had been going on for about six weeks and a dry irritating cough. And one morning when I got out of my bed to go to the bathroom I suddenly got this heavy sharp feeling in my chest and throat and in my back. I thought I was having the beginnings of a heart attack, I felt like I had a cannonball in my chest and throat. I went to see my doctor that morning and he gave me an ECG which he thought looked normal and told me that I had reflux which I thought was very strange. Three weeks later I still felt unwell and was finding it hard to hold a conversation when I was walking because I was feeling short of breath and going upstairs was making me feel also short of breath, and I was also feeling very anxious about how I felt and found I had lost my appetite and suffered from nausea quite badly, and my stomach also did a lot of grumbling. I eventually made a private appointment to go and see a specialist where he very quickly diagnosed pericarditis. I have been taken colchicine 500 mcg for the last 6 weeks and Naproxen 500 mcg for the last three weeks to try and speed things up. The pain in my chest is no longer there but the pain in my back between my shoulder blades is still there, always at its worst in the mornings. I look forward to feeling myself again soon but it is taken longer than I was led to believe.

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Comment from: Cardi, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 22

I had the flu, took regular multivitamins, and after a few days I was ok; or so I thought. I started coughing, this continued for days then I started feeling pain in my chest more to the left side. Anything that caused the lung to be inflated including deep breath, sneeze, or yawn, I just have to cut it short as it feels like the lung is touching the heart. I saw a doctor, got anti-inflammatory medications but still feel the pain. I was sent to do blood tests including HIV as I started night sweats and fever. Then the echocardiogram showed pericarditis, the damage to the lining of the heart and lung. Hey, be careful, flu can kill.

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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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