Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What Are The Recovery Exercises for Pericarditis?

At present, there is no proof that exercise has a significant role or may resolve pericarditis inflammation. Exercise is a catabolic process where molecules break down into energy. Physical activity demands more catabolic reaction, which may worsen inflammatory response and may extend the pericarditis inflammation. Exercising benefits to uphold a healthy body but avoiding while pericarditis condition is the right health choice to make. It neither cures pericarditis nor expedites pericarditis recovery.
Pericarditis is a rare inflammatory disease of the pericardium in the heart with multiple etiologies. There is very limited data supportive of the impact of exercise on cases of pericarditis. When individual diagnosed with pericarditis, it is better to avoid vigorous or regular exercises. It may increase the risk of complications such as progression to myocarditis, worsening pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade, constrictive pericarditis, or recurrent symptoms.

Even though regular exercise is associated with healthy lifestyle, in case of the pericardium, it can become critical. The etiology agent affects the metabolically energetic cells of the heart leading to a myocarditis. Myocarditis may need continuous treatment or surgery involvement and hence, it is better to evade regular exercise until the pericarditis has completely resolved. Otherwise, this condition could increase the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Acute pericarditis may take a month to resolve and chronic condition might take a year to resolve the disease. Since most of the cases are idiopathic, therefore treatment must progress promptly with combination therapy, which is an effective method. Ibuprofen along with colchicine may reduce the inflammation and swelling and also surgical intervention is recommended if patients show severe illness. Individual rest and restriction of physical activity aid in the recovery.

Even in competitive sports, individuals need clearance certificate otherwise they are restricted to participation. Physical activity infers a considerable risk of sudden death on patients who are suffering from symptomatic or asymptomatic myocarditis. This is mainly due to inability to pump because of the inflamed heart. From an immunological point of view, exercise during early phases of myocarditis may also promote viral replication within cardiomyocytes, cytolysis, and local tissue inflammation. Nearly 20% of death cases were reported due to myocarditis so far because of vigorous sports involvement.

Which Exercises to Perform After Recovery From Pericarditis?

Once after the recovery, the patients can start with mild or moderate exercise. Trying to exercise too soon after pericarditis may aggravate the condition and cause its recurrence. Slow walking is the best way to start to increase overall levels of fitness. Moderate stretching exercises and yoga can build up endurance and strength. Brisk walking can be executed after a few days of slow walking, stretching, and yoga. Swimming is an alternative method to increase the intensity of your exercise. Brisk walk for 40 minutes a day and swim for half an hour a day may boost the immunity, keeps the blood pressure normal, reduce lipids, and improves the blood circulation in the heart.

Chest pain is a major indication of acute pericarditis and affected patients may also present with fatigue and rarely dyspnea in case of extensive pericardial effusion.

Diagnostic work-up with ECG, echocardiography and coronary angiography is often mandatory to exclude other major heart diseases. Cardiac MRI is on the way to become a helpful diagnostic tool in the future, mainly because it may increase the sensitivity of heart muscle biopsies.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 13, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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