The goals are to manage pain and reduce inflammation. Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter medications, such as:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
If those medications don't help, your doctor might prescribe:
- Colchicine. This anti-inflammatory medication might be used, along with over-the-counter medications, to treat Dressler's syndrome. Some studies suggest that colchicine taken before cardiac surgery might help prevent postpericardiotomy. The effectiveness of colchicine for treating existing post-cardiac injury syndrome isn't clear.
- Corticosteroids. These immune-system suppressants can reduce inflammation related to Dressler's syndrome. Corticosteroids can have serious side effects and might interfere with the healing of damaged heart tissue after a heart attack or surgery. For those reasons, corticosteroids are generally used only when other treatments don't work.
Complications of Dressler's syndrome can require more-invasive treatments, including:
- Draining excess fluids. If you develop cardiac tamponade, your doctor will likely recommend a procedure (pericardiocentesis) in which a needle or small tube (catheter) is used to remove the excess fluid. The procedure is usually done using a local anesthetic.
- Removing the pericardium. If you develop constrictive pericarditis, you might need surgery to remove the pericardium (pericardiectomy).
Some research indicates that younger people and people who have symptoms of constrictive pericarditis soon after surgery are more likely to need invasive treatments for complications of Dressler's syndrome.
July 09, 2015
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- Imazio M, et al. Cochicine for prevention of postpericardiotomy syndrome and postoperative atrial fibrillation: The COPPS-2 randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2014;312:1016.