The goal of acute pericarditis therapy is to identify and treat the underlying disorder. Medication regimen may include antibiotics, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids. Assessing the patient's pain and ECG readings will help differentiate pericarditis from myocardial ischemia.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pericarditis.
The administration of NSAIDs may help control the pain and inflammation related to acute pericarditis (refer to the Picmonic on "Ibuprofen (NSAIDs)"). Since NSAIDs may cause gastrointestinal irritation, administer these drugs with food or milk.
Since corticosteroids have various side effects, they are used selectively in patients with acute pericarditis. Corticosteroids are typically prescribed for patients with underlying rheumatologic or other autoimmune conditions already taking the medication. Corticosteroids may also be administered to relieve inflammation in patients who do not respond to NSAIDs.
Placing the patient in an upright position with the head of the bed elevated at 45 degrees may help provide pain relief. Bed rest may also help relieve pain in patients with acute pericarditis.
Pericardiocentesis is performed on patients with pericardial effusion with acute cardiac tamponade or purulent pericarditis. To relieve cardiac pressure, a needle is inserted into the pericardial space to remove fluid. Complications may include dysrhythmias, further cardiac tamponade, pneumothorax, and myocardial laceration.
The patient with acute pericarditis may develop cardiac tamponade or pericardial effusion. Excess fluid will collect in the pericardial space. A "window" is cut on the pericardium to allow drainage of excess fluid from the pericardium to the peritoneum or chest area and can be used for diagnosis.
Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.
*Average video play time: 2-3 minutes
Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)