The characteristic signs of pericarditis are high fever and chest pain. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute say, “The pain usually comes on quickly. It often is felt in the middle or left side of the chest or over the front of the chest. You also may feel pain in one or both shoulders, the neck, back, and abdomen. The pain tends to ease when you sit up and lean forward. Lying down and deep breathing worsens it. For some people, the pain feels like a dull ache or pressure in the chest. The chest pain also may feel like pain from a heart attack.” The intensity of the chest pain can vary from mild to severe and can be brief or sharp.
Taking deep breathe, swallowing food, coughing and lying down make the pain severe. Patients may also experience:
• low blood pressure,
• shortness of breath,
• troubled breathing,
• coughing ,
• weakness or tiredness,
• swelling of the ankles, and
• inflammation of the legs and abdomen.
In patients of pericarditis, a fluid accumulates in the pericardium and this condition is known as pericardial effusion. Severe pericardial effusion can interfere with blood’s normal functioning, disturbing its ability to fill and pump normally. This condition is known as cardiac tamponade.
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