Patient Comments: Pericarditis - Describe Your Experience


Please describe your experience with pericarditis. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Ronnie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

I had my first attack of diverticulosis in 2011. It was a perforated bowel and for 8 days I had not even water, just IV. I got out, felt great, boom; 2 years later here we go again. I'm a 52 year old male. I've had back to back flare ups, and at times I just wanted to die. The pain was never the same, always new symptoms like back pain, groin pain, stomach felt like it was so big it was going to burst, nausea, and throwing up. I have cut out so much of the things I eat and still end up on horrible drugs that make you sicker than the disease.

Comment from: Mommamadness77, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 06

I had the best day of my life last Saturday, June 1st. I spent the whole day outside shooting guns and archery, playing catch with the football with my boyfriend. Saturday evening I began feeling sharp pains to my chest and I thought I was having a heart attack. I took some children’s aspirin just in case. By Monday I was in the emergency room. I couldn’t take a deep breath and barely could speak. The emergency room doctor ran tons of tests, said good news was I was not having a heart attack, but bad news there was fluid around my heart; pericarditis.

Comment from: Hazel, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 26

I was shopping, and after entering the store I couldn't breathe and felt weak. I asked a security guard if he could please help me to my car. I waited there for 45 minutes and then I drove home. I was home for 3 days, then woke up told my kids to call 911. I couldn't breathe, felt like I had a brick on my chest. My cardiologist performed angiogram, my arteries were clear. I had pericarditis, and the sac around my heart was very weak he said due to a virus that I picked up while shopping. I'm still having problems.

Comment from: CornishJo, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

Since I was 10 I have had days or weeks with severe chest pain and was told it is anxiety or a pulled muscle. Eight months ago I became bedridden, barely able to breathe because the pain was so severe, and accompanied by a fever and flu like symptoms. Eventually I got diagnosed with pericarditis. I was told to take ibuprofen and colchicine and go back to normal life, rest is not necessary. This made it so much worse, eventually I realized the only thing that aids my recovery is complete rest and steroids.

Comment from: njoy , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I thought I had muscle pain but it became increasingly more painful and spread to my chest, shoulders and neck. The pain was so severe I had chills and nausea which led me to the emergency room, where I was diagnosed with pericarditis.

Comment from: Jez , 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 06

I feel a heavy chest. I wonder if anyone else has had elevated troponin with pericarditis.

Comment from: antipainter, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 01

I recently had full robotic bypass surgery on my LAD (left anterior descending) coronary. The night following surgery I developed pericarditis and have for a week experienced sharp pains during breathing, just left of center beneath the sternum. It’s unknown yet what will come of this as they are treating with colchicine.

Comment from: Ricky, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I was tossing a ball in the air to serve on the tennis court and had no breath and was diagnosed with pericarditis. A year later I have tried all the medication with severe side effects and had the fluid drained months ago but it didn't help. I was tested for everything. I had window cut in pericardium about six weeks ago. I am still short of breath but it is not an emergency. I had MRI of heart to determine whether sac has calcified, and no need for operation. I am on prednisone (which I hate) and a diuretic. Good doctor but he's not sure why I'm still having trouble and hoping time will help. I am trying to exercise to get some strength back after being immobile for a year. Miss tennis, etc., but now just want to breath normally again.

Comment from: hello12347, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: February 27

I was diagnosed with pericarditis for the first time in February of last year. What started as muscle pain in my back soon turned into severe chest, shoulder and neck pain. Even sitting at my desk in work would give me pain to the point where I thought I would pass out. After visiting Accident and Emergency, I was diagnosed with pericarditis, given 2 weeks off work and prescribed ibuprofen to alleviate the inflammation. A year on I have had another 5 separate bouts of pericarditis, the most recent of which has left me bedridden. I'm not sure what causes the recurrence of pericarditis, but I suspect it may be down to caffeine, diet and alcohol. I think a lifestyle change is in order.


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Comment from: RAE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 18

I am a 57 year old female in good health. At the end of September 2016 I experienced a sharp pain in my lower left rib cage. The pain came and went and after 6 weeks of feeling more and more fatigued, a heaviness in my chest, pain in my neck and shoulder blades and extreme shortness of breath, I went to my family practitioner who diagnosed the problem as a pulled pectoral muscle. I asked for a chest x-ray because of the shortness of breath but she did not recommend it. I became much worse within 3 days of that doctor visit and ended up in the emergency room. EKG was normal, CT scan and lab tests showed inflammation. I ended up being hospitalized overnight with an echocardiogram showing pericarditis. I was prescribed 600 mg of ibuprofen 3 times/day for 7 days and .6 mg colchicine 2 times/day for 90 days. I stopped taking the 600 mg too soon and all symptoms returned after 8 days. I saw a cardiologist who said to follow the original prescription plan for an additional 6 weeks. After, all labs were within normal limits. The cause was never determined but leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune concerns were ruled out. Last week I was concerned that some of symptoms were recurring and asked for the lab tests to be repeated, they came back within normal limits, thank goodness. This took from September of 2016 to the beginning of February 2017 to clear.

Comment from: ad, 19-24 (Patient) Published: May 02

I recently was diagnosed with pericarditis and I have to say it does get better. I went abroad and somehow got it in some type of viral infection. It is awful, I will admit. There were times I thought I was having a heart attack because I would get random rapid heartbeats and wouldn't be able to breathe, but I was told everything in my blood was fine. I had an abnormal heartbeat from the panic attacks I would get when experiencing some of the symptoms as any young person would get a little nervous. If you have anxiety, it helps to bend over and count. Always keep track of your symptoms and report any weird symptoms to your doctor just to makes sure nothing is over-looked. Symptoms are heart flutters, tightness/pain in chest, and shoulders (especially when you inhale), neck, jaw and sometimes arms. Your legs may also be stiff at times but it never lasts long. You will get through this! I'm three weeks in and although I have had healthier days I am feeling better. Take it easy, take your medicine and once you start feeling like yourself, go out and do something. It helps.

Comment from: Anna B., 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I started experiencing mild chest pain. I went to a minor emergency facility just to be safe. As I lay on the exam table pain greatly increased. I was given chest x-ray, blood tests, and EKG, which were normal but the pain was so severe I was given morphine and transferred to hospital. All tests were normal. I was discharged. One day later low grade fever started. My chest continued to hurt especially when taking deep breaths, bending over or lying down. Fever continued and 1 month later I was finally diagnosed with pericarditis with some effusion. I had no prior symptoms or illnesses.

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.

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.

Comment from: pugloverr, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

Two nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night. Then I noticed I have this pain on my left side under my breast bone. And my heart was racing and I had a hard time breathing. I thought it was nothing. I couldn't go back to sleep because when I lay flat I'd have a hard time breathing and felt the pain. But when I sat up or leaned forward I felt better but still had a hard time breathing. Then I went to the doctor yesterday and told the nurse and doctor how I felt. They did the typical heart rate check and the doctor listened to how my breathing was and automatically knew it was pericarditis. He prescribed me methylprednisolone 4 mg Dosepak that I have to take for 6 days and told me I should be fine after. I started the medication yesterday and it is starting to help. There is a little the pain but it doesn't hurt as much. I am still having a hard time breathing a little but it's only my second day on the medication. I have a while to go still hopefully after this I'll be better.


In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. See Answer
Comment from: dlmtnfolks, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 29

I felt pressure with pain like a fist full of knuckles on my sternum and my back, trying to meet in the middle. I have a bad back so jumped in the shower to try to relax it and just in case I wanted to be fresh in case I needed to go the emergency room (ER). No relief, so off I went to the ER. Upon admission I had a positive troponin, so off to the catheter lab. I had no blockages, then I had echocardiogram; no aneurism, and no heart failure. I was sent home after 1.5 days on colchicine and ibuprofen. ] I have determined that this was an acute phase of a chronic problem. I have rheumatoid arthritis, my problem was diagnosed as pericarditis caused by an acute exacerbation of inflammation. Once it was determined that I was not in an acute life or death threat, it seems I was no longer interesting and am having to 'drive the bus' myself. My last visit to the cardiologist was, 'we don't know why and we don't know how to keep it from happening again'.

Comment from: Robif, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 02

Two weeks ago I was hit by a turning 4 wheel drive as I was doing 50 to 60 kph on my motorbike. I suffered severe bruising to my ribs, right hip, a broken hand and some lacerations. Upon hitting the ground I felt an excruciating pain in my chest, particularly around the base of the sternum, which from the pain felt it was broken. After a thorough examination, ECG, CT scan, x-rays and ultrasound, no breaks or fractures were noticeable. The focus on my short hospital visit was my busted hand which was wired up. The morphine administered seemed to alleviate the chest pain from a 9/10 to a 3/10. Upon discharge the pain in my chest increased culminating in again a 10/10 pain from the center of my back through to my sternum. Back to ICU where pericarditis was diagnosed after many tests. I was put on Voltaren (nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory), pantoprazole (Actavis) for gastric protection and Colgout (colchicine) for the pericarditis. Since returning home I have suffered incredible gut pains after medication and eating, sometime lasting 3 to 4 hours. It is New Year’s Eve now and not much can be done. I believe that my pericarditis was related to the accident (trauma).

Comment from: A, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 22

Just over a month ago I was doing some shopping and felt very light headed like I was about to faint. I rested and then came straight home and went to bed. I felt extremely fatigued and light headed. A couple of days later whilst resting I was struggling to breathe - I had chest pain which extended through my left shoulder and down my arm to my hand. Then my heart started racing to 140 bpm. I'm only 44 and fairly healthy but this gave me a real fright. I thought I was having a heart attack. I called an ambulance. After many tests, X-rays, ECGs, ultrasound, and echo, I was diagnosed with pericarditis. It's been over four weeks now and every time I think I'm getting a little better and push myself, I fall backwards a week in progress. It's a slow recovery and seems to require a lot of resting and patience. I'm on ibuprofen and colchicine to bring down the inflammation. I don't seem to get relief by leaning forward; nor does lying down seem to make it worse.

Comment from: Babysmoocher, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

It started out with weird fainting type spells and chest pain to under left shoulder blade pain. For the first week after trips to the emergency room (ER) thinking I was surely having a heart attack they just brushed it off as panic attack. Even though I have never dealt with that anxiety in my life. Fast forward a week, I went to do a stress test and on the Echo it said I had pericarditis. Its peak of horribleness was 3 weeks during which I went to the pulmonologist because I couldn't breathe; if I barely exerted myself in any way my lungs would be screaming for air. They tested me there and I failed all the breathing tests and when they exerted me and tested my saturation, my oxygen dropped into low 80s which freaked them out and I am now on oxygen. The pulmonologist suggested doing a heart catheter but my husband didn't want to and instead we decided I would take a strict medicine regimen for the pericarditis and meet back with the pulmonologist in two weeks. If I did not improve we would move forward with the heart catheter. I am now 7 days post seeing that pulmonologist having taken the 650 mg of aspirin 3 times a day and colchicine 2 times a day like it's my job and guess what! I didn't use my inhalers yesterday at all, barely used my oxygen, for 3 nights in a row I haven't awoken gasping for air! I believe my heart issue was causing my lung issue! I thought I was going to die. This is the sickest I have been in my life! I am just now seeing some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I still get the chest pains but they are not nearly as bad. The scariest thing was the shortness of breath. Never even heard of this nasty disease. I am just so grateful I am going to live and I feel as though I have been given a second chance at life.

Comment from: Wibbler, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I was diagnosed with pericarditis over Christmas. Three episodes of severe chest pains about two weeks apart put me in hospital overnight each time. I had a few weeks of no symptoms but now I have a constant back pain (between the shoulder blades) and a grumbling stomach. The severe pain has not returned. I do get woken up in the night but nothing that I cannot deal with. Episodes seems to last up to three hours then subside. Top tip - a hot water bottle against the chest works wonders for pain relief.

Comment from: Busy Mom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

My first episode was in 2006 or 2007 when I felt some pain deep inside when I tried to get a good breath. The pain moved into my arms, chest and back, increasing over three days. It peaked on day 4 then slowly diminished over the next 3 days. That pattern became a typical flare up. I thought it was a pulled muscle to begin with. Several months later it happened again and this time I went to the doctor thinking I was possibly having a heart attack. My EKG and x-rays looked okay so I just took ibuprofen to get through the pain. This happened every 3 to 5 months for the next few years, I was misdiagnosed with costochondritis. I also had my gallbladder checked as the pain was bad in my shoulder. I ended up in the emergency room twice with severe pain and unable to get a breath. It hurt the most lying down. The episodes got closer and closer until 2010 when the pain wouldn't stop. I was put on prednisone full time and that helped. I was finally diagnosed with idiopathic pericarditis and am currently under a cardiologist’s care, trying to get off prednisone. Every time I go below 4 mg, I get a flare up and have to increase again. Sometimes I get a flare up even when I'm on 4mg of prednisone. Colchicine worked well but it raised my liver enzymes so I had to quit. I also take 400mg ibuprofen a day. In addition to medications I have tried various alternative supplements and going gluten free, which didn't help at all. I worked with a rheumatologist for 8 months thinking it was an auto-immune disorder that may have caused this. But those medicines didn't make any difference. My cardiologist thinks it will go away with time.


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Comment from: waitinginfaith, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

Initially, I had chest pain on my left side all day except when I went to sleep. The pain was bearable. The pain went away for a few days and returned during a family trip. From that point on, the pain increased. The pain increased during and after physical activity. I also noticed that it was worse when I slightly leaned back. Leaning forward relieved the pain. When I returned home I went to my doctor and he immediately diagnosed it as pericarditis. Just to be sure, he ran an EKG and noticed the inflammation in the sac around the heart. He said it is caused by a virus and will take up to two weeks to heal. He prescribed to me Norco (I have to take two pills to relieve the pain, but end up being nauseous). He also gave me an anti-inflammatory drug. He did a blood test to make sure there aren't any other contributing factors. I'm waiting for the results. Stress makes the pain worse. Sitting still quietly for long periods of time seems to lower my pain level. I am on day twelve and I am hoping to have it resolved soon.

Comment from: Tosha Gillham, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

I had chest pressure radiating on my collar bones and shortness of breath burning in my shoulder blades, etc. I'm a polycythemia vera (PV) patient or was. I have to have treatment for Factor V Leiden and PV. My other health problems include fibromyalgia and I was tested for many auto-immune problems. Anyhow I was admitted to the hospital past Friday. They did blood work, CT scan with contrast and EKG. CT scan had no blockages and I am being tested further. I am concerned about pericarditis.

Comment from: flmom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I went to the emergency room with horrible chest pain and difficulty breathing. It hurt taking breaths in and out. They kept me overnight to do tests and they all came back great except CT scan which showed a small amount of fluid around my heart. They want me to see a cardiologist.

Comment from: pclark14, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I was diagnosed with pericarditis yesterday. The anti-inflammatory medicine has helped but the biggest relief of the systems (besides leaning forward), something I read from a patient, was a heating bag. I wasn't able to sleep as I wasn't leaning forward and putting heat on the place it hurt calmed it enough for me to sleep. Just wanted to pass on this tip.

Comment from: William, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 25

I have a pacemaker, at this moment in time I have pain in my chest which radiates either way. I cannot bent down to pick anything up. I have had pericarditis before but then I blacked out.

Comment from: gwl, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 21

I had an attack in December 2013. I had a day and a half in hospital, my pain was eased by sitting up. I had the condition diagnosed about 3 years ago. This was the first attack I have had, no problems since leaving the hospital. All heart tests came back negative.

Comment from: MadWriter, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I was working some long hours and lifting some heavy merchandise when I felt my left shoulder blade start to hurt. I thought little of it, probably just a strained muscle. Then a week went by and it felt worse and I felt a little feverish, still I thought it was from the overtime. I had a vacation coming up and felt I could just sleep it off. That night I felt the pain move from my left shoulder right across my chest to my right shoulder. I tried going to bed, but no matter how I was positioned in the bed the pain got worse. Eventually I managed to get ten minutes of sleep standing up propped up against the bathroom sink. For the pain, I took about seventeen Aspirins over the course of five hours. My breathing was little shallow puffs as my lungs were collapsing. The pain felt like someone twisting my left arms until it was about to break, while someone else was sticking an icepick in my neck, while a third person was sitting on my chest and rubbing my chest with sandpaper from the inside. I didn't react to any pain medication except morphine which worked for a mere twenty minutes, then it was back to the grueling pain. I was given some antibiotics and some sort of pain killers and was sent home after two days in the hospital. I was also given a warning that it would recur about every two to three years. Well so far, nothing. And I wish this on no one.

Comment from: GregB, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 03

I came down with pericarditis on March 15, 2007. The day I came down with it, I encountered flu-like symptoms. The flu symptoms abated within a few days. Two days after, I came back to work from what I thought was the flu and I nearly blacked out when I ran up the steps going to my office. I developed shortness of breath and dizziness. Normally I do not get out of breath as I am a fairly constant walker who had successfully lost nearly 80 pounds thanks to diet changes and exercise. Within the next week and a half the doctors did a myriad of tests to conclude on April 1 that I needed to be admitted to the hospital with fluid around my heart and lungs. At the hospital, the doctors did emergency surgery to drain the fluid from around the heart. Nearly 60 pounds of fluid were drained from my body. Today, I still walk quite a bit and enjoy good health.

Comment from: salmon95, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 17

I am a 49-year-old man who recently traveled to Texas for a business trip. I was conducting a presentation when I started feeling some pain in my chest. I did not think it was anything other than maybe some indigestion as I had just had a small lunch. In a very short period of time, the chest pains got worse, and I was having a hard time breathing. I still did not want to say anything to anyone, hoping this would pass. I could not have been more wrong. Things got bad very fast. My chest and breathing became extremely painful to the point I thought I would pass out. I told a nurse, and she brought me to the ER. They did an EKG and CAT scan of my head and chest. I also had very high blood pressure, so I was given meds to bring this under control. I was still in a lot of pain and could not lie down. I was diagnosed with pericarditis and admitted to the ICU overnight and then to the telemetry unit overnight and discharged the next day. I was told to take 600 mg of ibuprofen three times a day and consult a cardiologist as soon as I returned home. I will be calling on Monday; however, I am a bit nervous as I am still having shortness of breath and some slight chest pain.

Comment from: Ab, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

It started out as shortness of breath and heartburn like pain. I went to the doctor on a Tuesday and was diagnosed with ulcers and put on medication, the following day it got worse and that evening was admitted into the hospital with ulcers as the main suspect. I had an epi something done on Friday and discharged that afternoon. immediately I developed a cough that wouldn’t stop and the following morning I was back in the E.R, for the first time the doctor decided to send me for an x ray and he discovered the heart had become so enlarged it was pushing on the lungs. He recommended I come back on Monday and that is when I was admitted and told I had pericarditis. At this point I had lost a lot of weight and didn’t eat much. The pain was immense and I was relieved to hear I would be going for surgery the following day (Tuesday). It went well and I spent 10 days in the hospital then went back to normal life. I was put on tuberculosis medicine as well for 8 months. I had missed a whole term of school, but I still managed to catch up without repeating that year. I was 15 and turned 16 a week after surgery and I am 25 today, completely cured and healthy only the scar left as a reminder.

Comment from: sick of it, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

I found out I had acute pericarditis a few months ago. I had severed pain in my chest and could not sleep well. No matter what I did. I could not even walk far. I was off work for a month. I went to four different hospitals because of my breathing and chest pain. Two told me it was angina. Two told me it was pericarditis. I had all kinds of EKG tests, stress test etc. I was hospitalized twice. I still didn't get the answers I was looking for. Now it is back, my left hand gets numb with severe chest pain and headaches it has been like this for a couple days now. I am wondering if it is more than what I was told because no one told me it could reoccur. I don't want to put myself threw endless tests for them to tell me to rest.

Published: July 29

I am a 31 year old male who just got diagnosed with having pericarditis. I was experiencing discomfort in my left shoulder, like a sharp pain. This began in the morning on a Wednesday. It was Friday evening of the same week when I tried to lay down to go to sleep when I experienced a sharp pain in my chest which did not allow me to breathe very well. It did not matter if I went on my back or on my stomach; even on my side I still felt the pressure to my chest. I went to the emergency at 4:30am to find out what was going on and at first they thought I may have a bladder problem because one indication of that begins with pain in your shoulder as well. But after doing some blood tests, a few EKG’s and an x-ray of my heart they determined I had inflammation of my heart (Pericarditis). They gave me a prescription of some drugs and I am currently recovering at home just trying to take it easy and hope that I am okay.

Comment from: TheLostOne, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 21

My son died from pericarditis. So be careful.

Comment from: Danny, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 01

I suffered from Kawasaki disease when I was little between the ages of 2 to 5 years old. I think this could be why I’m suffering from pericarditis now at the age of 24.

Comment from: Superman, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: April 22

I was sleeping and woke up in the middle of the night with severe chest pains. My left arm was numb, and I had a tingling feeling in the back of my neck and chin. I was flipping out because I thought I was having a heart attack at 24. It scared the living bejesus out of me! I was diagnosed with pericarditis and was off work for about a week. I had no other symptoms.

Comment from: country nana, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 25

I was diagnosed with pericarditis in August of 2008. The pain was in my back, chest, and the worst pain was between my breasts. I could not sleep lying down. I slept in my husband’s big recliner. I had lots of weakness and didn't want to eat. I was not sick before that time. The emergency room ran many tests, and that is the only thing they came up with. I was given prednisone for a few days and put on oxygen because my pulse rate was too high. I spent three months on oxygen. No underlying cause was found as to why I developed pericarditis. While in the hospital, I was given morphine that really helped the pain ease up. I did not take any anti-inflammatory medications. I am fine now and do not want a recurrence of pericarditis. I had never heard of this disease before and just recently have had two other friends diagnosed with it.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I have had viral pericarditis since 1999. It is something that I have made some lifestyle adjustments to help alleviate the symptoms. For the most part, I am symptom-free. I have had to learn to not get so upset as my stress level tends to lead to symptoms. At times, however, the symptoms are bad enough that I have made several trips to the ER. I now take blood pressure medication as I have developed high blood pressure. I monitor my blood pressure closely as this tends to tell me when I am starting to be symptomatic again. Ibuprofen, when taken early enough, seems to alleviate the pain and swelling.

Comment from: Dailah, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

All I can say is listen to your body. I didn't even know there was something like this out there. I had mid-back pain all week long and was really tired all week too. All of a sudden, it felt like the pain spread around me like a corset. I was admitted to the hospital with back pain and shortness of breath. I couldn't lie down without horrible pain and my breathing was shallow. I wasn't getting enough oxygen. Many tests later, they ruled out a blood clot in my lungs and confirmed the pericarditis diagnosis. Be prepared for many tests: EKGs, ultrasounds, X-rays, and CT scans. A word to the wise: Pain-med narcotics do not ease the pain; they just mask it so that you can sleep, you still feel the pain. It's the anti-inflammitories that really help. Listen to your body. If your back hurts with no good reason and you can't breath, go to the hospital!

Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 06

I am a 39-year-old male suffering from pericarditis. I was diagnosed with this disease three years ago, and since that time, I was hospitalized on at least three different occasions. Recently, the chest pain came back. However, unlike before, the pain is constant and much sharper. My doctor put me on ibuprofrin 800 as well as an anti-inflammatory medicine.

Comment from: 13-18 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 17

My 16-year-old son complained of mild chest pain and back pain for two months. He also had an intermittent low-grade temperature. Several visits to the doctor gave no answer to the problem. One night he began having severe chest and upper back and became short of breath. In the ER an echo test and a cardiologist diagnosed pericarditis. He was hospitalized, treated with Motrin and antibiotics, and released in four days. He is feeling much better.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I am a 35-year-old female from South Carolina. I was told that I had pericarditis two years ago and was in the hospital for three weeks on and off for this. I was treated with Prednisone, and now, this past Sunday night at 3 a.m., I woke up and felt as if I had a 300 pound person sitting on my chest. So, I went to my doctor at 8 a.m., and she did an EKG and sent me straight to the hospital for an echocardiogram. Sure enough, it has come back. I feel so tired and really short of breath. Today, they started me on Prednisone again, and I go see a heart doctor Thursday morning.

Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 23

I was previously diagnosed with paracarditis a few years ago. If you've just been diagnosed it can be scary. A few days ago while at home I began to have somewhat intense chest pain. I chalked it up to indigestion and waited for it to go away. It didn't. In fact the pain increased to the point where I thought, for a moment, that I could be having a heart attack. Reluctance got the better of me and I didn't go for medical help until three days later. It turns out that it wasn't a heart attack but probably a recurrence of pericarditis. I'm still not feeling well and am still a little nervous. The moral of my story is any chest pain, however severe needs to be checked right away. And since I'm a former firefighter/emt I should know better. Never second guess chest pain.

Comment from: patbush34, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

When I was younger, I had a problem, but the doctor did not find anything wrong with me. I had intense pain on my left rib area while trying to sleep. I went to see him again and he found nothing. Finally, I went again, telling him that the pain was not too bad when I had my bra on. When I took my bra off and went to bed, that’s when it hurt. Finally the light went on in his head, and he sent me to the hospital. I not only had pericarditis I had double pericarditis with fluid around my lungs and heart. I stayed in the hospital a week.

Comment from: outch, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

Pericarditis is a very painful, uncomfortable experience. I am 16 years old and was diagnosed with coxsackie and pericarditis 2 days after my birthday – having sharp painful cramps around my heart and severe muscle pain. It may all sound discouraging but the severe pain greatly influenced my school points and kept me from doing stuff like dancing, tennis and other adrenalin sports. I really hope some smart doctor can come up really fast with a cure or just a better treatment for both illnesses.

Comment from: Scarlet, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 06

My husband was released this past Monday from the hospital after being diagnosed with pericarditis and pericardial effusion. He ignored his doctor’s advice to call if the pain in his chest returned. He thought it would just subside. He had to have emergency surgery yesterday to drain the fluid because the fluid accumulated so quickly again in the pericardium. He was close to heart failure. Had we not gotten to the hospital in time that could have been it. Do not ignore your pain if it worsens, and make sure you go to your doctor or the hospital. This isn't anything to ignore. We had never heard of this before last week.

Published: July 01

I am a 78 yr. old woman. My experience with pericarditis began in my 20's. I experienced edema, shortness of breath and great heaviness in my legs, also headaches. I was diagnosed in 1960 with Chronic Constrictive Pericarditis. As you can imagine, my Dr. was a great diagnostician to find the problem. I remember I had what was called a stereo x-ray, he used an instrument that was used for spinal taps I believe. I entered the Hosp. on Sept 7, had surgery on Sept. 14, 1960 in a little neighborhood hospital. They said that the only thing that seemed to be having a pulse was the Aorta. My liver had pretty much disintegrated. They peeled the pericardium, which was very thick from scar tissue, like an orange. They said you could see the heart beginning to beat as they operated. I had a long recovery, but now, 48 yrs later, I am fine. And very grateful to the two Drs who saved my life.

Comment from: Sheila, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 14

My son was 24 when he died of pericardial tamponade. He did have a kidney disease at the time, but the coroner said that wasn't the cause of his death. He was found in his bathroom on the floor. Please don't think that just because you are young, it can't happen to you. It can. Please seek medical attention if you have any symptoms.

Comment from: Carolyn, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 16

My Husband had pericarditis and they removed the outer layer of his heart. He is retaining fluid in his stomach and they aren’t sure why it keeps happening. I need help getting more information regarding the liver and if it could be a problem with his liver. He goes into the hospital every month to drain the fluid out of his stomach. After the heart surgery the problem was suppose to stop it did for awhile, but now it keeps happening. He is also a dialysis patient.

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