Other Drugs: Anti-inflammatories such as colchicine. Aspirin for treatment of pericarditis associated with myocardial infarction. Corticosteroids can create gastrointestinal disturbances, which may increase the likelihood of the patients failure to adhere to the prescribed medical therapy. Bacterial pericarditis is treated with antibiotics.


Place the patient in a high Fowler position. Use pillows to increase the patient's comfort, and encourage the patient to sit upright and lean slightly forward rather than lie supine. If the upright position does not alleviate the pain, have the patient try a side-lying position for 10 minutes. If the patient needs to perform coughing and deep-breathing exercises, provide instruction on splinting the chest with pillows to decrease the pain.

Remain with the patient during periods of increased pain and discomfort. Encourage the patient and family to verbalize their fears and concerns and to ask questions about the treatment and course of the disorder. Inform the patient and family about pericarditis and its causes. Explain all procedures. Assist the patient and family in distinguishing acute pericarditis from myocardial infarction. Teach them about continuing medications as prescribed even after the pain is gone but to taper use of steroids.

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