UMEM Educational Pearls

Pericarditis is based on clinical diagnosis; typically two of four criteria are found (pleuritic chest pain, pericardial rub, diffuse ST-segment elevation, and pericardial effusion).

Most common cause of pericardial disease in the world is tuberculosis vs. idiopathic or viral causes in developed countries.

Treatment of pericarditis should be targeted at the cause.

NSAIDs and newer literature suggest colchicine are first line for most cases, except in systemic inflammatory diseases or pregnancy where low dose prednisone is often the preferred agent.

Most causes of pericarditis have a good prognosis and are self-limited.

The most feared complication is constrictive pericarditis.


Imazio M. Contemporary management of pericardial diseases. Current Opinion in Cardiology. 27(3):308-17, 2012 May.