A transient but potentially recurrent pericarditis and/or pericardial effusion may follow cardiac surgery or any trauma to the heart.



(1) cardiac surgery

(2) cardiac trauma, including chest stab wound and blunt trauma

(3) after myocardial infarction (Dressler's syndrome, see above)

(4) penetration of the right ventricle by a cardiac catheter


Onset: from 1 week up to 1 year after the event


Recurrent episodes may occur for up to 2 years after onset.


Clinical features:

(1) acute febrile illness, up to 40°C

(2) pleural or pericardial chest pain

(3) pneumonitis

(4) arthralgias

(5) rarely signs of pericardial tamponade


Imaging findings:

(1) pericardial effusion


Laboratory findings:

(1) leukocytosis

(2) elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP)

(3) if drained the pericardial fluid has a negative Gram stain and culture


Differential diagnosis:

(1) infectious endocarditis

(2) viral pericarditis

(3) other forms of pericarditis


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