I was diagnosed with pericarditis last November. I actually diagnosed myself since the first visit to the emergency room was useless. I have also colitis and I think in my case the pericarditis has an autoimmune component. For me the pain started on the middle of my chest and got worse every day for a week. It was particularly noticeable when I bend down. The pain then moved to my shoulder neck and left arm.
During my first emergency room visit, they did an EKG that showed nothing. Then they did an X-ray. They were looking for pulmonary embolism. Once they were convinced that it was not it, they send me home. I was back a couple of days later with excruciating pain. Again the EKG was normal and nothing showed on the X-ray. Because of the medication I was taking at the time for the colitis, I knew that pericarditis was a rare side effect, so I kept bugging them about
it, so they finally did a CT scan that was not very helpful. It showed a light shadow that might or might not be something. The cardiologist that saw me ordered a ultrasound. That is the test that will really tell if you have pericarditis or not. In my case it showed some effusion but not enough to be drained. I was admitted to the hospital after that. Also my inflammation markers were high so they knew that something was off, but it was hard to convince them to test for pericarditis.
Pericarditis is rare, not that many doctors have to deal with it first hand. While in the hospital I was lucky to meet some knowledgeable cardiologist that checked my heart the right way. They listen for a particular sound that your heart makes, called the "rub", when you lean forward. Also they took my blood pressure and monitored the vein on my neck. Apparently the amount of effusion will make the vein pulse in some particular way. Finally, as they take the blood pressure, they listen for some sound or count the beats between sounds that will give them a clue about
how bad the effusion is. Sorry, I wish I remembered better.
Most cases of pericarditis can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs or even a short treatment with prednisone. My case has an autoimmune component so I have taken prednisone since November and had tried Imuran to try to get off the steroids without success. I just started Methotrexate to see if that will work. So TDW3M8, try to get an ultrasound so you can get some peace of mind. It is better to know what is going on than just let anxiety get the best of you. Good luck.
Colitis since 2013, pericarditis since November 2014
Lialda, which put me in remission but unfortunately caused rare renal toxicity
Prednisone, works great for me both for the colitis and pericarditis
Colchicine, not sure is really doing anything for the pericarditis
Imuran, only got to lower prednisone to 10mg, got flare after that
Entivyo, for colitis, just started, so far so good
Methotrexate, well see if it works
Post Edited (Flaming Heart) : 9/26/2015 8:54:39 PM (GMT-6)