Pericarditis - Describe Your Experience

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What is pericarditis?

The heart muscle has a tight covering that surrounds it, a lining sac called the pericardium (peri=around +cardium=heart). This sac actually has two layers. The visceral pericardium is only one cell layer thick and fits tightly onto the heart muscle. The parietal pericardium is much tougher and thicker and has fibers that tether the heart to the rib cage and diaphragm. There is a potential space between the layers, meaning that in normal situations, it has a minimal amount of fluid. However, should inflammation occur, it can fill with fluid. Inflammation of the lining of the heart is called pericarditis (itis=inflammation).

Picture of the heart in the pericardial sac.
Picture of the heart in the pericardial sac.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Not fun., 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: December 28

Early 2015 I dealt with a severe case of pericarditis. It wasn't fun in the slightest. The main reason it was real bad is that I kept on ignoring the pain in my chest, especially when I was lying down. I'd counter it with codeine; a lot of codeine. I dealt with it for about a week until the pain got far too bad that I couldn't just deal with it. I was shouting out for my mum and they rushed me to the hospital. I consider myself to be pretty good with pain but I had never dealt with this pain in my life. I was practically screaming. They rushed me in and gave me morphine to calm me down. It was an absolute blessing. For about 15 minutes until the pain kicked back in again, they gave me a drip and so many pills because it was 3 am and the other patients weren't too happy. I eventually slept. The morning after, the nurse said that she hasn't seen anyone be given that much pain medication and not pass out asleep in her entire 10 years of being a nurse. Anyway, I was there for a little over a week. I couldn't breathe by myself which was pretty bad. I have to admit, I still miss the oxygen. A lot more than the medication I was given to soothe the pain. One other thing, if you feel a pain in your chest go to the doctor straight away. Not worth the risk in the slightest.

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Comment from: D, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 29

I felt a dull pain in my chest for 10 days before going to hospital. They say I have viral pericarditis which has not been confirmed, the doctor says everything is pointing that way. It has been 5 weeks since I went to the hospital and I am just starting to feel better this week. For the first 4 weeks I was taking high dose aspirin and staying home as it seems to get worse if I get any part of a cold, with a virus already in me it was easy to catch anything going around. I felt like I was going to die for the first for weeks, but now I am finally starting to feel better after 5 weeks, so hang in there and rest, rest, rest. And good luck.

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