The cause of pericarditis must be identified, if possible.
High doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are often given. These medicines will decrease your pain and reduce the swelling or inflammation in the sac around your heart.
A medicine called colchicine may be added, especially if pericarditis does not go away after 1 to 2 weeks or it comes back weeks or months later.
If the cause of pericarditis is an infection:
- Antibiotics will be used for bacterial infections
- Antifungal medications will be used for fungal pericarditis
Other medicines that may be used are:
- Corticosteroids such as prednisone (in some patients)
- "Water pills" (diuretics) to remove excess fluid
If the buildup of fluid makes the heart function poorly, treatment may include:
- Draining the fluid from the sac. This procedure, called pericardiocentesis, may be done using an echocardiography-guided needle.
- Cutting a small hole (window) in the pericardium (subxiphoid pericardiotomy) to allow the infected fluid to drain into the abdominal cavity
If the pericarditis is chronic, recurrent, or causes scarring or tightening of the tissue around the heart, cutting or removing part of the pericardium may be needed. This surgery is called a pericardiectomy.