Pericarditis is the painful inflammation of the membrane (pericardium) surrounding your heart. Doctors suspect that viral infections may cause the condition, but in many instances, the exact cause cannot be determined. Pericarditis treatment strategies focus on managing painful symptoms and reducing risks of complications.
Find a Doctor at Dignity Health North State who can answer your heart-related questions, diagnose your symptoms, and provide expert pericarditis treatment in Northern California.
Treatments for Pericarditis at Dignity Health North State
In many cases, pericarditis clears up after a few days or weeks with rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Anti-inflammatories soothe painful symptoms by reducing irritation and swelling.
Your Dignity Health North State cardiologist may recommend alternative treatments if your pericarditis is severe, or if you develop complications. For example, fluid buildup in the pericardium can put pressure on your heart and cause a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.
If your doctor can determine the cause of your pericarditis, you will also receive treatment for the underlying condition.
Common treatments for pericarditis include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications (such as prednisone) and prescription pain relievers
- Antibiotics, if your condition is caused by a bacterial infection
- Surgical procedures to relieve pressure on your heart, or remove parts or all of your pericardium
Surgical treatment of pericarditis is rare. Typically, your doctor will only recommend surgery if your condition is so severe it prevents the pericardium from working properly. Chronic pericarditis that doesn’t get better with conservative treatment may also need to be treated surgically.
Talking Through Your Treatment Options
Most cases of pericarditis get better with conservative treatment. Be sure to ask your doctor about the goals, risks, benefits, and side effects of any recommended treatment, including medication. Your conversation should also cover ways to reduce your risk of complications of pericarditis.
Because there are few known risk factors, and the underlying causes of pericarditis are difficult to pinpoint, it may not be possible to prevent the condition. However, steps can be taken to lower your risk for pericarditis and its complications, such as:
- Immediately treating chest infections, like pneumonia
- Promptly treating acute pericarditis so it does not turn into chronic pericarditis
- Getting regular medical checkups for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
At Dignity Health North State, we define health as more than the absence of disease. Our approach to care involves providing for the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of our patients. Learn more about our holistic approach to medicine.
Dignity Health North State offers state-of-the-art hospital facilities and advanced cardiac care, including pericarditis treatments, in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.