ABSTRACT: Purpose. – Chronic pericarditis or recurrrent pericarditis is mostly considered to be idiopathic even when up-to-date medical investigations are undertaken. The absence of aetiology and the associated inflammatory process are features of a common disease for internists. As there are only a few published reports on this disease, therapeutic options are not easily envisaged.Current knowledge and key points. – Idiopathic pericarditis and its evolution, characterized by recurrence or chronicity, has long been diagnosed and studied. Faced with a case of acute pericarditis, no clinical or biological data can preclude evolution towards a chronic or a recurrent form. The two major complications are tamponade and constriction. Classical treatment is aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. Steroids have a spectacular effect but steroid dependence is frequently observed. Colchicine treatment seems to be efficacious and can be used to stop steroid therapy. There are only a few published reports on the importance of immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide.Future prospects and projects. – Through our own experience and literature review, we propose to consider chronic and/or recurrent pericarditis as an autonomous inflammatory disease of the pericardium. Thus, large-scale studies concerning the treatment should improve the outcome of patients.
La Revue de Médecine Interne.