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Rev Med Interne. 2017 May;38(5):307-311. doi: 10.1016/j.revmed.2016.12.006. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

Recurrent pericarditis.

Author information

1
University Cardiology, Department of Medical Sciences, AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, University of Torino, Torino, Italy. Electronic address: massimo.imazio@yahoo.it.
2
University Cardiology, Department of Medical Sciences, AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.

Abstract

Recurrent pericarditis is the most troublesome complication of pericarditis occurring in 15 to 30% of cases. The pathogenesis is often presumed to be immune-mediated although a specific rheumatologic diagnosis is commonly difficult to find. The clinical diagnosis is based on recurrent pericarditis chest pain and additional objective evidence of disease activity (e.g. pericardial rub, ECG changes, pericardial effusion, elevation of markers of inflammation, and/or imaging evidence of pericardial inflammation by CT or cardiac MR). The mainstay of medical therapy for recurrent pericarditis is aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) plus colchicine. Second-line therapy is considered after failure of such treatments and it is generally based on low to moderate doses of corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone 0.2 to 0.5 mg/kg/day or equivalent) plus colchicine. More difficult cases are treated with combination of aspirin or NSAID, colchicine and corticosteroids. Refractory cases are managed by alternative medical options, including azathioprine, or intravenous human immunoglobulins or biological agents (e.g. anakinra). When all medical therapies fail, the last option may be surgical by pericardiectomy to be recommended in well-experienced centres. Despite a significant impairment of the quality of life, the most common forms of recurrent pericarditis (usually named as "idiopathic recurrent pericarditis" since without a well-defined etiological diagnosis) have good long-term outcomes with a negligible risk of developing constriction and rarely cardiac tamponade during follow-up. The present article reviews current knowledge on the definition, diagnosis, aetiology, therapy and prognosis of recurrent pericarditis with a focus on the more recent available literature.

KEYWORDS:

Aetiology; Diagnosis; Pericarditis; Prognosis; Therapy

PMID:
28185680
DOI:
10.1016/j.revmed.2016.12.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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