Pericarditis and breathlessness??

Hello all. Has anyone had breathlessness with pericarditis?? I have chest pressure and pain too and can't lay down without sitting upright. Dr said I have pericarditis upon listening to my chest and hearing symptoms. I was started on colchicine and ibuprofen a week ago but no improvement. The breathlessness is all the time, worse w exertion or talking. 
I did have pacemaker exchanged for defibrillator w added lead June 7, 2022. 
I'm worried this is more than pericarditis.

I really would be grateful for anyone's input.

 

 


3 Comments

Ackkk! My sympathies!!😬

by Lavender - 2022-08-03 18:14:53

I had an episode of pericarditis a couple years before I got a pacemaker. It's worse than any pain I've ever experienced. I, too, had to sit up all the time and struggled with shallow breathing so it wouldn't hurt so bad. I packed myself in soft ice packs above the waist.
My symptoms also included back pain between the shoulder blades. 


The treatment included:

Colchicine .6 twice a day for Initially three months but the pericarditis flared worse after having been prescribed steroids so I had to take the colchicine an additional three months 

Carafate to coat the stomach

3200 mg Ibuprofen a day (800 four times a day)

40mg nexium daily

Voltaren cream rubbed on the back area and chest (as I said, I had no pacemaker then and since then was told by a pharmacist not to use this cream near the heart.)

I was told in advance that the heart was the priority and they would sacrifice the stomach to save the heart.  I ended up in the ER with stomach erosions from the Ibuprofen. But!! They were right, it saved the heart and I never had the tamponade with it.  My stomach developed functional dyspepsia which went on another couple years. 
 

I also got sciatica from sleeping upright for so long but that's gone too. 
 

The upside is that I am fine now. I take no meds at all, but I was told never to have coffee, alcohol, chocolate or tomatoes again and never any NSAIDS.  
 

The cardiologist said once you have it, some folks get it again so I really hope not for me! 
 

My pericarditis was caused by a chest injury when I tried assisting my mom as she was falling.  I pulled the rib cartilage causing costochondritis and soon developed pericarditis.  

Oh, and pericarditis sounds like velcro ripped apart when you hear your heart with a stethoscope!

Gosh, I pray your case is mild and resolves quickly with no recurrence! Many cases resolve in a couple weeks, mine was more severe. Please keep resting and reduce/eliminate exercise too while you heal. Leaning forward can reduce the pain a bit. Also, ibuprofen shouldn't be stopped abruptly and must be weaned down per a doctor instructions. They taper the ibuprofen dose weekly for two to four weeks in an attempt to reduce the subsequent recurrence rate.

Time for an echo.

by crustyg - 2022-08-04 13:03:45

If I were looking after you, I'd check your oxygen saturation and request an urgent echo - you could easily be developing a pericardial effusion (secondary to the pericarditis).  A week of full strength anti-inflammatories and no improvement, time for additional investigations and increased concern.  And it doesn't help that NSAIDs can cause salt-and-water retention (they interfere with kidney blood distribution), which can tip patients into HF.  I've seen it and it's a listed complication of ALL NSAIDs which is why colchicine was a good choice despite its terrible impact on the gut => diarrhoea.

Best of luck.

Good point Crustyg!

by Lavender - 2022-08-04 15:05:31

Crustyg-I'm glad you're a pro and on top of things because I forgot to mention that I was strictly monitored by a cardiologist.  I had an echo about a week into it, and another a couple weeks later by a second cardiology team. They were very careful to watch for things because I did have a small pericardial effusion. Pericarditis is commonly associated with pericardial effusion that can sometimes worsen to cardiac tamponade. Mine resolved without tamponade. 

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