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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan

Clin Med (Lond)



Acute pericarditis: Update on diagnosis and management.


Ismail TF
Clin Med (Lond). 2020 Jan; 20(1):48-51.
PMID: 31941732.


Acute pericarditis accounts for ∼5% of presentations with acute chest pain. Tuberculosis is an important cause in the developing world, however, in the UK and other developed settings, most cases are idiopathic/viral in origin. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) remain the cornerstone of treatment. At least one in four patients are at risk of recurrence. The addition of 3 months of colchicine can more than halve the risk of this (number needed to treat = four). Low-dose steroids can be helpful second-line agents for managing recurrences as adjuncts to NSAIDs and colchicine but should not be used as first-line agents. For patients failing this approach and/or dependent on corticosteroids, the interleukin-1β antagonist anakinra is a promising option, and for the few patients who are refractory to medical therapy, surgical pericardiectomy can be considered. The long-term prognosis is good with <0.5% risk of constriction for patients with idiopathic acute pericarditis.