When you have pericarditis, you feel heart pain because the membrane (pericardium) surrounding your heart has become inflamed. Viral infections are thought to be a common cause, but the exact cause may not be identifiable in every case.
Prevention and treatment helps ease pericarditis symptoms and reduces the risk of complications. One complication is fluid buildup in the pericardium that puts pressure on the heart and can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
If you suspect a heart problem, take our online heart risk assessment. Never wait to see a doctor for a heart issue.
The doctors at Dignity Health Southern California are ready to help. We provide thorough diagnosis of pericarditis symptoms and specialized pericarditis treatment in Southern California with the humankindness you deserve. Use our online Find a Doctor tool to make an appointment at one of our state-of-the-art locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and in Inland Empire cities San Bernardino, Fontana, and Highland.
You may be able to help reduce your risk of developing pericarditis or experiencing complications once you have pericarditis by:
- Seeking treatment for pericarditis right away so it doesn’t become chronic
- Seeing your doctor for chest infections as soon as possible — infections such as pneumonia may lead to pericarditis
- Maintaining regular medical checkups if you have an autoimmune condition such as lupus
Prevention may not always be possible because the exact cause of pericarditis is often not known, and specific factors that put you at greater risk have not been confirmed.
Treatment for Pericarditis at Dignity Health Southern California
Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. Following your treatment plan can help you recover within a few weeks and avoid another episode.
With rest and non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and irritation, many instances of pericarditis go away within a few days or weeks.
If your pericarditis is severe, or if you develop complications, your doctor may recommend additional treatment. Your doctor may also treat the underlying cause of your pericarditis, if it can be identified.
Pericarditis treatments may include:
- Surgery to relieve pressure by removing fluid buildup or removing part or all of the pericardium
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as prednisone
- Antibiotics, if pericarditis is caused by a bacterial infection
- Prescription pain relievers
Surgery to treat pericarditis isn’t common. It’s usually only recommended if the inflammation of your pericardium is so severe that it prevents your pericardium from working as it should. Surgery may also be considered if initial treatments don’t achieve the desired results, and your pericarditis becomes chronic.
Considering Your Pericarditis Treatment Options
Conservative treatment can manage most cases of pericarditis. Your doctor will explain the goals, benefits, and risks of any treatment and help you make an informed decision. If surgery is recommended, your doctor will explain both the risks and ways to help minimize them.
Dignity Health doctors and staff are here to heal with humankindness, providing exceptional pericarditis treatment in Southern California.