How do I Choose the Best Pericarditis Treatment?

K.C. Bruning

The best pericarditis treatment depends on the severity and type of the condition. Some cases are so mild that symptoms will eventually disappear on their own or with very little intervention. If further intervention is required, antifungal, antibiotic, and analgesic drugs can all be used to treat the problem. It may also be necessary to drain fluid from around the heart if accumulation keeps it from functioning properly. Surgical removal of portions of the pericardium, which is the membrane that becomes inflamed due to pericarditis, may be required in more persistent cases.


A wide array of medications, either taken alone or in combination, can be a part of pericarditis treatment. Depending on the intensity of the pain, analgesics or narcotics may be prescribed. Inflammation can be treated with over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and colchine. If these drugs do not reduce inflammation, cortiscosteriods may be prescribed.

There are also drugs which can be prescribed for different types of pericarditis treatment. Patients who have fungal pericarditis may take antifungal drugs. Antibiotics are typically administered to patients with bacterial pericarditis.

Pericarditis treatment may advance to more intensive procedures or surgery if symptoms worsen or persist. Excessive accumulation of fluid around the heart can lead to a condition know as cardiac tamponade, where the ventricles are not able to function properly due to pressure from swelling and fluid around the heart. This condition can be fatal if not treated promptly. A procedure known as periocardiocentesis can be performed to remove excess fluid around the heart. If this does not sufficiently release pressure on the ventricles, a surgical procedure called pericardiectomy, in which part or all of the pericardium is removed, may be necessary.

Pericarditis is the inflammation of a membrane called the pericardium that covers the heart. Many cases are the result of a viral infection, though the specific cause is often not discovered. Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause the condition, though this is not as common.

The specific symptoms of pericarditis depend on if the condition is acute or chronic. If it is acute, the most common sign is chest pain, either dull or sharp, and occasionally pain in the neck and left shoulder. Chronic pericarditis is not as easy to detect. Its most obvious symptom is shortness of breath. Overall, patients with any kind of pericarditis may also experience swelling of the legs or abdomen, fever, uncharacteristic weakness, or a fever.

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