Pericarditis is inflammation of the thin sac that surrounds the heart. Extra fluid builds up in the 2 layers. This can make it harder for the heart to work as it should. There are many causes. Treatment depends on the cause. It may involve self-care, medicines, or surgery.
Pericarditis may go away on its own. It can take a few weeks or months until you are fully better. Sometimes, it can last longer or come back. Rest when you need to.
You will have limits on some activities until you are better.
You may need medicines to:
Take all the antibiotics you are given. Do this even when you are feeling well.
When taking medicines:
Your doctor will need to check on your progress. Be sure to go to all advised appointments.
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Acute and recurrent pericarditis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-and-recurrent-pericarditis. Accessed May 18, 2021.
Pericarditis. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed May 18, 2021.
Pericarditis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/myocarditis-and-pericarditis/pericarditis. Accessed May 18, 2021.
Pericarditis. Texas Heart Institute website. Available at https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/pericarditis-2. Accessed May 18, 2021.
What is pericarditis? American Heart Association website. Available at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/pericarditis/what-is-pericarditis#.WS8KjevytQI. Accessed May 18, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC Last Updated: 10/8/2021