Hello, this is my first post here, I was hoping I could ask some of the members of this site who have pericarditis about their treatment and what works best for them. Ill give you a little background, my first episode of pericarditis was when I was about 13, it was misdiagnosed completlety and I continued to have recurring episodes at least once a year for the next ten years. I was able to deal with them simply by taking a few asprin, three or four at the most. about 4 years ago at the age of 23 the episodes became more frequent and incredibly painful. I live in NYC and had seen at least 4 Cardiologists and had a number of tests done. It wasnt until I went to a Cardiologist in Manhattan that pericarditis was diagnosed. A few years ago the pain was so bad I took enough asprins over the course of a few days to almost completly lose my hearing( at least 50 of them). I saw a pain managment specialist after that(Since no Brooklyn doctor had a clue about what was going on), he gave me Vicodin which was truly a blessing. I was perscribed steroids during another episode which worked really really well, the inflammation was gone but is not a viable option because steroids apparently increase the longevity and frequency of episodes as well as have some nasty side effects on the body. My last three episodes have been only a few months apart and I have been using Naproxen (about 10 a day) as well as Percocet. And some stomach repair stuff for the Naproxens too. I experience the usual pain associated with pericarditis, leaning forward helps, lying down is a nightmare, breathing can be difficult and of course crippling radiating pain in my heart and left shoulder, sometime my back as well. It has put my life on hold more times than I can remember.
The cause has been deemed to be viral, or idiopathic. Echo tests have shown fluid build up in my chest and my blood during episodes contains increased inflammation markers (or something like that). Lately Ive been sleeping on my recliner every night because it hurts too much to lie down. My doctor says that im not at increased risk of it becoming constrictive. Since I want to avoid surgery as much as possible and my doctor wouldnt entertain the notion of it, Ive essentially been treating the symptoms as I understand there is no treatment for the disease itself. Im not crazy about the amount of painkillers it takes to keep me sane but im even less crazy about having a two week long heart attack. Oh I almost forgot, Ive been on colchicine for 4 or 5 years, twice a day.
I dont personally know anyone else who has Pericarditis and those ive heard of seem to have a much milder case of it than I do, more short term too (Ive had it now for 15 years, im 28). I would sincerly appreciate some of you who do share this with me to tell me what works the best for you. My wife and I are getting more and more worried since the episodes are coming more frequently and severly now. Thank you again for your audience, I look forward to hearing from you.