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If you experience shortness of breath and fatigue with a low-grade fever and dry cough, call your WellStar physician. If you experience severe chest pain – a common symptom of pericardial effusion but also of a heart attack – go to the emergency room immediately.

Pericardial Effusion Disease Treatment


Treatment of pericardial effusion depends on the cause as well as the severity of the condition and whether the excess fluid may be rich in protein (exudate) or water (transudate). If there is no immediate threat of cardiac tamponade, a prescription of medication may be sufficient to treat the condition.


Taking Care of Pericardial Effusion with Medication


Your WellStar physician may prescribe medication to reduce the inflammation of the pericardium that is contributing to this condition. Some of these medications include aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), colchicines or corticosteroids.


Medical Procedures and Surgery


In some cases, your WellStar physician may recommend more invasive treatments, particularly in instances of cardiac tamponade. Such procedures include:

 

  • Pericardiocentesis, in which your WellStar cardiologist uses a sterile needle or small tube (catheter) to remove and drain the excess fluid from the pericardial cavity
  • Pericardiectomy, a surgical procedure to remove those portions of the pericardium that has become rigid and is compromising the performance of your heart
  • Open heart surgery, particularly if there is bleeding into the pericardium usually as a result of a previous heart surgery or complicating factor
  • Intrapericardial sclerosis, a procedure in which a solution is injected into the space between the layers of the pericardium that seals the layers together. This procedure is most often used if cancer caused the pericardial effusion or if the condition is recurring

 

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