Doctors and providers who treat this condition



Pericarditis means that the lining that surrounds the heart is inflamed. This may cause a sharp pain with each breath or when you change body positions. The most common cause of pericarditis is a viral infection. This condition will go away in about 1 to 2 weeks.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for yourself at home:

  • It’s important to rest until you feel better. Don’t do any strenuous during this time.

  • You may use ibuprofen or naproxen to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your health care provider before using these medicines. Also talk with your provider if you’ve had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding. Acetaminophen may not help this type of pain as much as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your health care provider, or as advised. Also call your provider if your symptoms don’t get better in 1 week, or if they last more than 2 weeks.

When to seek medical advice

Call your health care provider right away if any of these occur:

  • A change in the type of pain. This means if it feels different, becomes more severe, lasts longer, or begins to spread into your shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, or back.

  • Shortness of breath or more pain with breathing

  • Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

  • Cough with dark-colored phlegm (sputum) or blood

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your health care provider

  • Swelling in a leg 


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