If you require emergency medical attention, please call 911 to access your local emergency services.


Symptoms of Pericardial Disease

The most common symptom of any pericardial disease is chest pain. The pain is usually sharp and stabbing. This pain is caused by friction of the heart rubbing against the pericardium as it beats.

Chest pain may get worse with:

  • Deep breaths
  • Lying flat
  • Coughing

You may get pain relief by sitting up and leaning forward.

For many people, the pain of pericardial disease may feel like other conditions, such as a heart attack. If you think you’re having a heart attack and require emergency medical attention, call 911.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid:

  • Symptoms getting worse
  • Heart damage
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Kidney failure

Acute pericarditis symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat

Constrictive pericarditis symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Serious trouble breathing
  • Swollen leg
  • Swollen belly

Meet the Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.
Meet the Team
Downtown Chicago