Clinical management and therapy of idiopathic recurrent pericarditis

Andrea Assolari, Silvia Maestroni, Davide Cumetti, Anna Valenti, Federico Parisi, Antonio Brucato



Recurrent pericarditis is defined when pericarditic chest pain reappears after a symptom-free period of at least 4 to 6 weeks and after completion of full-dose anti-inflammatory therapy. Idiopathic pericarditis is the commonest etiology. The diagnosis of idiopathic cases is essentially an exclusion diagnosis, supported by a typical clinical course. The diagnosis is based on the association of typical symptoms and signs: mainly pericarditic chest pain plus pericardial rubs or electrocardiographic alterations or pericardial effusion. The optimal regimen for recurrences includes combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, colchicine, and corticosteroids. In the resistant forms, immunotherapy (azathioprine, intravenous immunoglobulins, and particularly anakinra) has shown to be effective. The long term outcome of idiopathic recurrent pericarditis is good, with no evolution towards constrictive form.


Recurrence; Pericarditis; Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal; Immunotherapy; Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein

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