Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Dressler's Syndrome Overview

What is Dressler's syndrome?
Dressler's syndrome is a condition that can occur following a heart attack. It usually develops several days to several weeks after a heart attack. A person with Dressler's syndrome has inflammation of the pericardium, a sac that surrounds the heart. Inflammation of the pericardium is called pericarditis. Dressler's syndrome is thought to be an autoimmune disease that results when the body immune system reacts abnormally to other parts of the body (pericardium).

What are the symptoms of Dressler's syndrome?
Symptoms of Dressler's syndrome include chest pain that may worsen with leaning forward or taking a deep breath. Other symptoms include left shoulder pain, fever, and breathing difficulty.

How does the doctor treat Dressler's syndrome?
The treatment of Dressler's may include aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, pain medications, corticosteroids, and colchicine. In rare cases, fluid may accumulate within the pericardial sac to the point that it needs to be drained with a needle.

Continue to Dressler's Syndrome Symptoms

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dressler's Syndrome References
  1. Dobrilovic N, Passik CS, Shaw R. Pseudoaneurysm of the left ventricle in the presence of Dressler's syndrome. Tex Heart Inst J. 2007;34(2):252-3. [17622383]
  2. Gregoratos G. Pericardial involvement in acute myocardial infarction. Cardiol Clin. 1990 Nov;8(4):601-8. [2249214]
  3. Madsen SM, Jakobsen TJ. [Colchicine treatment of recurrent steroid-dependent pericarditis in a patient with post-myocardial-infarction syndrome (Dressler's syndrome)] Ugeskr Laeger. 1992 Nov 23;154(48):3427-8. [1462455]
  4. Paelinck B, Dendale PA. Images in clinical medicine. Cardiac tamponade in Dressler's syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2003 Jun 5;348(23):e8. [12789012]
  5. Sahasranam KV, Chandra P, Ravindran KN. Early onset Dressler's syndrome--a study of fifteen cases. Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. 1990 Jul-Sep;32(3):153-6. [2081629]
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