Could heart rate play a role in pericardial inflammation?

Med Hypotheses. 2012 Oct;79(4):512-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Aug 2.


PURPOSE AND MEDICAL HYPOTHESIS: Rest is usually recommended in acute pericarditis, as it could help to lower heart rate (HR) and contribute to limit "mechanical inflammation". Whether HR on admission could be correlated and perhaps participate to inflammation has not been reported.

Methods: Between March 2007 and February 2010, we conducted a retrospective study on all patients admitted to our center for acute pericarditis. Diagnosis criteria included two of the following ones: typical chest pain, friction rub, pericardial effusion on cardiac echography, or typical electrocardiogram (ECG) findings. Primary endpoint was biology: CRP on admission, on days 1, 2, 3, and especially peak.

Results: We included 73 patients. Median age was 38 years (interquartiles 28-51) and median hospitalization duration was 2.0 days (1.5-3.0). Median heart rate was 88.0 beats per minute (bpm) on admission (interquartiles 76.0-100.0) and 72.0 on discharge (65.0-80.0). Heart rate on admission was significantly correlated with CRP peak (p<0.001), independently of temperature on admission, hospitalization duration and age. Recurrences occurred within 1 month in 32% of patients. Heart rate on hospital discharge was correlated with recurrence, independently of age.

Conclusion: In acute pericarditis, heart rate on admission is independently correlated with CRP levels and heart rate on discharge seems to be independently correlated to recurrence. This could suggest a link between heart rate and pericardial inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Pericarditis / drug therapy
  • Pericarditis / etiology*
  • Pericarditis / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Aspirin