How is pain in acute pericarditis characterized?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

Palpitations may be the presenting complaint, but chest pain is the cardinal symptom of pericarditis, usually precordial or retrosternal with referral to the trapezius ridge, neck, left shoulder, or arm. The quality of the pain is usually pleuritic, but it range from sharp, dull, aching, burning, or pressing, and the intensity varies from barely perceptible to severe. The pain is worse during inspiration, when lying flat, or during swallowing and with body motion, and it may be relieved by leaning forward while seated.


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