COVID-19 can trigger pericarditis, a type of heart inflammation, but this is quite rare. Symptoms include chest pain that comes on quickly or worsens when you breathe deeply or lie down.
Pericarditis is when the fluid-filled sac that surrounds your heart becomes inflamed. This sac is called the pericardium. It helps protect your heart and hold it in place.
There are several potential causes of pericarditis. One is a viral infection.
SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is one of the viruses that can trigger pericarditis. Keep reading to learn more.
In rare circumstances, it’s possible for COVID-19 to cause pericarditis. This usually occurs by:
- direct infection of heart tissue
- the effects of the body’s immune response to the coronavirus
- both of the above causes
Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis
However, information on COVID-19-associated pericarditis and its incidence is lacking compared with myocarditis.
For reference, a
The symptoms of pericarditis include:
- chest pain that typically:
- comes on quickly
- is sharp
- gets worse when you breathe deeply or when you lie down
- eases when you lean forward or when you sit up
- fast heart rate
- shortness of breath
- weakness or fatigue
- heart palpitations
When to seek medical help
Pericarditis can feel like a heart attack. If you have chest pain, especially if it comes on suddenly and doesn’t go away, seek immediate medical attention or call 911.
Pericarditis can happen while you’re sick with COVID-19 or after you recover.
One 2021 review reports that a diagnosis of pericarditis occurred anywhere from 5–56 days after a COVID-19 diagnosis.
According to the
- young adults, although middle-aged adults are also commonly affected
- males, with frequent reports occurring in males under
- people with certain rare genetic conditions
Having risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get pericarditis. Instead, it means you have an increased risk compared with people who don’t have risk factors.
Rest and medications that reduce pain and inflammation are typical treatments for pericarditis.
The medications a doctor may prescribe for pericarditis include:
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines can rarely trigger pericarditis, according to
According to the
As mentioned earlier, pericarditis after receiving the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is rare. One
- 1 in 200,000 doses after the first dose
- 1 in 30,000 doses after the second dose
- 1 in 50,000 after the first booster dose
COVID-19 can trigger pericarditis in some people. However, it’s not very common. The symptoms of COVID-19-associated pericarditis are similar to those of pericarditis caused by other viruses.
While pericarditis can affect anyone, the people who most often develop it are younger and male. Rest and medications can typically treat it and ease inflammation and pain.
In rare cases, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines may trigger pericarditis. However, it’s more likely that you’ll develop pericarditis from COVID-19 than from COVID-19 vaccination. Overall, the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines outweigh their risks.