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.




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. 

You know you're wired when...

You get your device tuned-up for hot dates.

Member Quotes

It becomes a part of your body just like any other part.