- Symptoms include sharp, severe retrosternal chest pain worse with inspiration and a supine position.
- The classic physical finding is a pericardial friction rub. A low-grade fever is often present.
- Diagnostic signs include diffuse electrocardiographic ST elevations and at least a small pericardial effusion on echocardiography; blood tests generally suggest systemic inflammation.
- Treatment is directed at any underlying systemic disorder. Idiopathic or viral pericarditis responds to high-dose aspirin, non-steroidal agents, or colchicine.
- Complications include chronic recurrent pericarditis, cardiac tamponade, and constrictive pericarditis.
Last updated: Apr 10, 2013