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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Ischemic Heart Disease

Question: Dressler's Syndrome

 Anonymous - Sat Dec 28, 2002 4:18 am

I am writing to request some more information (if possible) re Dressler's syndrome. My father has just been diagnosed. He is aware of the symptoms (obviously) but would like to know more about his prognosis and best ways of treatment. He is taking medication but wants to know if there is much risk of him going back to work etc. or should he be resting?
I can't seem to find too much information about it.
It would be great if you could help.
Kind Regards,
Karen Marshman
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sun Feb 09, 2003 8:04 pm

User avatar Dear Karen,

Thank you very much for using our website.

Dressler syndrome is known as postmyocardial infarction syndrome, it might occur as early as one week following a myocardial infarction (heart attack) up to even eight weeks. It causes inflammation of (1) the sac surrounding the heart (pericardium), (2) sac surrounding the lung (pleura) and (3) some lung tissue (pneumonitis).

Its cause is presumed to be autoimmune (where the body can not differentiate between self and foreign and starts to form antibodies against its own tissues).

It causes (as i am sure your dad experienced): 1) Fever, 2) malaise, 3) Chest pain, and 4) may be some cough.

i presume that he had of course some tests by the doctors to make sure that this chest pain is not caused by another heart attack. The single most important thing in my point of view since inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart might cause accumulation of fluid around the heart which is something very serious, i think that doing an echocardiogram (ultrasound X-ray of the heart) is crucial to make sure that there is no fluid surrounding the heart specially if your dad is taking blood thinners.

Otherwise i think this is a benign condition, it might recur in the future after it is treated. Treatment consists of anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, naprosyn, indomethacin, etc... If these don't work (which is extremely rare), cortisone may be used which is usually very effective but must be tapered off because of its known side effects.

Regarding your dad going back to work, this depends on how long ago he had his heart attack now and does he have any symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling and of course it depends on what kind of work he does, how old is he, how big was his heart attack. The best person to judge this at this point is his personal physician. Regarding Dressler syndrome, once cured, he can go back to work without any problems if evry thing else is ok and his doctor allows him to.

I hope i have given you the information that you wanted to find out about Dressler's syndrome and once more thank you very much for using our website and if you still have any questions do not hesitate to answer them at any time.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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