Management of Acute and Recurrent Pericarditis: JACC State-of-the-Art Review

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Jan 7;75(1):76-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.11.021.


Pericarditis refers to the inflammation of the pericardial layers, resulting from a variety of stimuli triggering a stereotyped immune response, and characterized by chest pain associated often with peculiar electrocardiographic changes and, at times, accompanied by pericardial effusion. Acute pericarditis is generally self-limited and not life-threatening; yet, it may cause significant short-term disability, be complicated by either a large pericardial effusion or tamponade, and carry a significant risk of recurrence. The mainstay of treatment of pericarditis is represented by anti-inflammatory drugs. Anti-inflammatory treatments vary, however, in both effectiveness and side-effect profile. The objective of this review is to summarize the up-to-date management of acute and recurrent pericarditis.

Keywords: acute pericarditis; cardiac tamponade; constrictive pericarditis; recurrent pericarditis; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiac Tamponade / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiac Tamponade / physiopathology
  • Cardiac Tamponade / therapy
  • Disease Management*
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Humans
  • Pericarditis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pericarditis / physiopathology
  • Pericarditis / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents