Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor makes a diagnosis of Dressler's syndrome based on questions you answer about your symptoms and the results of an examination and tests. Diagnostic procedures may include the following:

  • Listening to your heart. Your doctor will listen to your heart with a stethoscope. If the pericardium is inflamed, your doctor may hear a high-pitched, scratchy sound called a friction rub. If there's a large amount of fluid accumulated, your heartbeat may be muffled or sound distant.
  • Echocardiogram. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce an image of your heart. This test enables your doctor to see if fluid is collecting around your heart.
  • Electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram records the electrical impulses in your heart through wires attached to the skin on your chest and other locations on your body. Certain changes in the electrical impulses may mean there's pressure on your heart. But after heart surgery, electrocardiogram readings may already be abnormal, so your doctor likely won't rely on this one test to diagnose Dressler's.
  • Chest X-ray. An X-ray can help detect fluid building up around the heart or lungs and can help exclude other causes of your symptoms, such as pneumonia.
  • Blood tests. Your doctor may draw blood for laboratory tests. The results of certain tests can indicate significant inflammatory activity that's consistent with a diagnosis of Dressler's syndrome.
Aug. 03, 2012