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  • Pericarditis - Is mine now Chronic?

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    Old 02-09-2010, 06:52 PM   #1
    KVandr's Avatar
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    KVandr HB User
    Question Pericarditis - Is mine now Chronic?

    Good Evening,

    I am hoping someone has had a similar experience and may be able to offer me some guidance as I am lost.

    I am a 29 year old male that had what started as an acute case of pericarditis last October(2009). I went into the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. They found nothing wrong and sent me would be 4 weeks of trouble breathing and pain before I saw a cardiologist who echo'd me and saw an effusion. Not knowing much about the disease I started on his regimen of steroids and colchicine(which I was only on for a couple days as it disagreed with my system). Going on a 6 day pack, feeling better and having the fluid go down but my symptoms came back so he put me on about a month of prednisone starting at 60mg and tapering down to 10mg. Towards the end the pain came back and he put me on one more 6 day pack before he saw me again and the echo came back with an acceptable level of fluid. So I was then sent on my way to a rheumatologist as my cardiologist figured it was not viral having not gone away in almost 2 months.

    I was in pretty bad shape still, having daily fevers, night sweats and pain, but I was put on no medication yet, other than being told to take OTC ibuprofen.

    During my wait to see the rheumatologist I spoke with my cousin who is recovering from cancer and gets steroid treatments for a week once a month. She experienced similar symptoms to me and I came to the conclusion that a lot of my suffering between the doses of steroids could have actually been from steroid withdrawal.

    I now was on no medication and was going to see the rheumatologist soon, but I decided to wait a couple weeks to see how I felt. About 5 to 6 days later I was 95% better. I still had some palpitations and a heavy feeling along with discomfort in my chest, so I still saw the rheumatologist, but it was like a huge weight was lifted off of me.

    The rheumatologist ran some tests and found nothing wrong with me. I talked with a couple other cardiologist and they offered me no real direction and basically said I must wait this out, but never said that I have a chronic case. Just to watch out for the acute symptoms again and the last one I visited recommended I stay away from the steroids this time and self medicate with large amounts of ibuprofen.

    It has been about another month and currently I am on no medication, but I still have the occasional palpitations (I usually notice them at night), a bit quicker heart rate and heaviness in my chest throughout each and every day.

    It has been almost exactly 4 months. Do I have recurring pericarditis as these are not very painful episodes but just an everyday feeling? Do I have chronic pericarditis? Did the steroids cause this to last longer? Is waiting all I can really do? I am in the cold Northeast, will the spring and warmth bring relief? I can live with this, as I feel now..but I have a baby girl on the way at the end of April(2010). I donít want to collapse or be letting something fester that should be getting treated that may shorten my life. I just donít know what to do or where to turn to now.

    I appreciate any help anyone can provide!

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