Heart sac inflammation

Inflammation of the heart sac (pericarditis) can be caused by viruses and bacteria or as a complication of another disease.

Overview

Inflammation of the heart sac (pericarditis) can be caused by viruses and bacteria or as a complication of another disease. It often occurs at the same time as a cold, flu or fever. The main symptoms are a shooting pain behind the sternum when you breathe in or out and a feeling of weakness. The condition should be checked by a doctor, and the body should be rested.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Shooting pain in the chest, behind the sternum
    • Linked to breathing (different from the pain of a heart attack!)
    • Typically worsens when you draw a deep breath, cough and lie down
    • Improves if the upper body is bent forward
  • Often occurs at the same time as a cold, flu or fever
  • Reduced physical performance, weakness
  • Usually heals within 1 to 2 weeks (it often goes unnoticed). After-effects are rare

Other symptoms

Complication

  • Pericardial tamponade: collection of fluid in the heart sac and impaired heart function
    • Acute emergency

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Listening to the heart (stethoscope)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood test (signs of inflammation and heart enzymes)
  • Heart ultrasound
  • X-ray of chest cavity
Possible therapies
  • Treatment of symptoms (e.g. painkillers, anti-inflammatories)
  • Possibly antibiotics or cortisone
  • Cannulation to relieve pressure on the heart (only for pericardial tamponade)
  • Treatment of the underlying disease

What can I do myself?

  • Rest your body, bed rest

When to see a doctor?

  • Pain behind the sternum
  • Shortness of breath, racing heart and falling blood pressure
  • Congested neck veins
  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen

Synonyms

heart sac inflammation, pericarditis, perimyocarditis, inflammation of the heart sac

Premiums for 2022 at a glance

Calculate premium

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

CSS Insurance – your health partner

Being healthy, getting well or living with illness: as your health partner, CSS Insurance is by your side on your journey through life.

Well looked