Posted 6/18/2013 2:48 AM (GMT -7)
first: please excuse me, if there are mistakes in my english, I am from Germany and not used to write in english.
I am now 63 years old, male. about three years ago I was diagnosed - purely by chance - with pericarditis constrictiva. Before that I was at first diagnosed with A-Fib.
Since several years I showed the same symptoms as You told, tiredness and shortness of breathe - becoming worser every year. Ascites, pleural effusion and so on.
There was a test with cardiac catheter, after that the diagnosis 'pericarditis constrictiva' was confirmed.
'Pericarditis constrictiva' is in Germany (today) a merely rare disease. In former times, up to the second world war and some years after that, it was often a sequence of a tuberculosis disease.
I believe it was in my case a tuberculosis disease which I had at the age of about 9 years. So I lived with 'pericarditis constrictiva' about 50 years...
That would be a long story.
After the confirmed diagnosis I talked to several cardiologists; they all told me, the pericardiectomy had to be done, otherwise my health would decline in some ten years until death.
So the pericardiectomy was done in october 2010, in the surgical hospital of the university of Heidelberg.
about 2,5 years after the surgery I am doing nearly well, but it took time, and there were some setbacks in my condition. One of the cardiologists had told me - before surgery - that it would take three years to recover, and today I have to say: he was right. I learned to be patient. May be that it depends on the age the patient has at the time of the surgery.
Concerning the surgery I would propose to read the thread of 'little cowboy' in this forum - very good and detailed information.
Concerning the A-fib: my doctor told me that this would stay - after a long lasting A-fib disease, which may be initiated by the 'pericarditis constrictiva' there is not much hope of healing - I will have medication for a long time or for lifetime.
Sorry that I cannot tell more to the A-fib - concerning my case, it was merely a side effect... (running around the whole life on 70 % heart performance... not too funny...)
I believe, You should find a doctor which is really experienced concerning 'pericarditis constrictiva'.
May be, that is as difficult as it is in Germany. I hope you find some information in this forum, there are several threads to this subject (some of them closed, but I think You can still read them).
All the best for You,