Jorge Garcia

What is pericarditis?

Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin membrane surrounding your heart

Men aged 20-50 are most likely to get it.


Sharp, stabbing pain in chest that can travel to neck

Shortness of breath while reclining

Heart Palpatations


Your doctor will look at your medical history and give you a physical exam and listen to your heartbeat for a noise called a pericardial rub.

They may also perform other tests such as:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Chest X-Ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • CT scan/ MRI


  • Over the counter pain relievers (Ibuprofen, Advil, etc.)
  • Colchicine

If medications do not work, a procedure called Pericardiocentesis may be performed to remove fluid from the sac


The outcome is good if treated right away (could recover in a couple of weeks).

However, scarring or thickening of the pericardium occur when it becomes severe (constrictive pericarditis), which can lead to death.