Hello Phil and welcome to HealingWell,
I am sorry to hear your wife is having problems. Let me explain a bit about pericarditis.
Pericarditis is a swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane that surrounds your heart. Pericarditis often causes chest pain and sometimes other symptoms. Pericarditis is usually sudden and short-lived (acute). When symptoms develop more gradually or persist, the condition is considered chronic. The sharp chest pain associated with pericarditis occurs when the inflamed or irritated two layers of the pericardium rub against each other.
The following are common tests for a patient with pericarditis:
Electrocardiogram (ECG). In this test, patches with wires (electrodes) are attached to your skin to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. Impulses are recorded as waves displayed on a monitor or printed on paper. Certain ECG results may indicate pericarditis, while others could indicate a heart attack.
Chest X-ray. With an X-ray of your chest, your doctor can study the size and shape of your heart. Images of your heart may show an enlarged heart if excess fluid has accumulated in the pericardium.
Echocardiogram. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of your heart and its structures, including fluid accumulation in the pericardium. Your doctor can view and analyze this image on a monitor.
Computerized tomography (CT). This X-ray technique can produce more-detailed images of your heart and the pericardium than can conventional X-ray studies. CT scanning may also be performed to exclude other causes of acute chest pain, such as a blood clot in a lung artery (pulmonary embolus) or a tear in your aorta (aortic dissection).
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technique uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create cross-sectional images of your heart that can reveal thickening or other changes in the pericardium.
Your treatment choice for pericarditis depends on the cause as well as the severity. Mild cases of pericarditis may get better on their own without treatment.
Rest and medications
Your doctor may recommend bed rest until you're feeling better. Medications to reduce the inflammation and swelling associated with pericarditis are often prescribed, including:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Most pain associated with pericarditis responds well to treatment with aspirin or another NSAID.
Narcotic pain relievers. If your pain is severe, you might need stronger pain medications, such as morphine, for a short time.
Colchicine. This drug, which reduces inflammation in the body, may be prescribed as a first line treatment for pericarditis or as a treatment for recurrent symptoms. Colchicine can reduce the length of pericarditis symptoms and decreases the risk that the condition will recur. However, the drug is not safe for people with certain pre-existing health problems, such as liver or kidney disease. Your doctor will carefully check your health history before prescribing colchicine.
Corticosteroids. If you don't respond to NSAIDs or colchicine or if you have recurrent symptoms of pericarditis, your doctor may prescribe a steroid medication such as prednisone.
Acute episodes of pericarditis typically last from one to three weeks, but future episodes can occur. about one in five people with pericarditis has a recurrence within months of the original episode.
I think seeing a Cardiologist is a very wise decision. I wish your wife the best and please do keep us posted or feel free to ask questions and share with the members in this great forum.
Holiday Blessings to you,