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What is Pericarditis? - Part 2

December 5, 2012

In our previous post, we discussed the causes and symptoms of pericarditis. Today, we will take a look at how the condition is diagnosed and treated.

Diagnosis of Pericarditis

north ohio heart pericarditis diagnosisPericarditis can be diagnosed and treated by primary care doctors, cardiologists, and infectious disease specialists. Most doctors will diagnose the condition by checking medical history and performing a physical exam and tests. When checking your medical history, your doctor may ask you questions about recent illnesses, symptoms of pericarditis, and other medical conditions. In the physical exam, he or she will try to look for signs that may indicate that you have pericarditis, such as excess fluid in your chest or the rubbing of the pericardium against your heart. Tests that are commonly used for diagnosing pericarditis include electrocardiogram (EKG), chest x-ray, echocardiography, cardiac CT, cardiac MRI, and blood tests.

Treatment of Pericarditis

Pericarditis is usually not a serious condition, and it will go away on its own with simple treatment and proper rest. Most people who have pericarditis recover from the condition fully. Recurring or chronic pericarditis is more dangerous, and it can result in complications. As such, it requires more intense treatment, which can come in the form of medication, medical procedure, or surgery. Some of the medications that are usually used for treating pericarditis are aspirin, antibiotic, ibuprofen, colchicine, prednisone, and others. If you are suffering from cardiac tamponade, you may have to undergo a procedure called pericardiocentesis. This procedure removes excess fluid in your pericardium and reduces pressure on your heart. Chronic constrictive pericarditis can only be treated with pericardiectomy, a form of surgery that removes the pericardium.

To ensure that pericarditis does not develop into complications, it is essential that you seek medical attention promptly. Contact our doctors immediately if you experience symptoms of pericarditis.

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