The characteristic sign of pericarditis is chest pain, which can spread to the neck and shoulders and may be accompanied by shortness of breath, inflammation of the lower body, tiredness and palpitation.
On the basis of your symptoms, the doctor will review your recent history of recent viral infection, chest surgery, kidney ailment, chest trauma, tuberculosis, urema or rheumatic or collagen vascular disease. He or she will examine the condition, location and intensity of your chest pain and; will use a stethoscope to listen to the grating and leathering sound that is a characteristic symptom of pericarditis patients. This sound is medically known as pericardial friction rub.
The following tests are the ones your doctor will ask you to undergo to further confirm pericarditis.
• An electrocardiogram (ECG): It is a painless test, which records the heart's electrical activity to help to understand how heart works.
• An echocardiogram: It produces painless sound waves to scan and determine the structures surrounding the heart.
• A regular chest x-ray is done to determine congestion and chest trauma.
• Changes in the pericardium will be determined by performing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan.
If the patient has developed pericardial effusion, a sample of the effusion (fluid) will be aspirated with a sterile needle from around the heart, to examine for its severity. If your doctor suspects tuberculosis as the primary cause of pericarditis, he or she may take your skin test or additional blood tests to determine any potential signs for infection, heart attack, rheumatic illness or collagen vascular disease.
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