Dressler's syndrome

Dressler's syndrome
Dressler's syndrome
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 I24.1
ICD-9 411.0
DiseasesDB 3947

Dressler's syndrome is a secondary form of pericarditis that occurs in the setting of injury to the heart or the pericardium (the outer lining of the heart). It consists of a triad of features, fever, pleuritic pain and pericardial effusion.

Dressler's syndrome is also known as postmyocardial infarction syndrome[1] and the term is sometimes used to refer to post-pericardiotomy pericarditis.

It was first characterized by William Dressler in 1956.[2][3][4]

It should not be confused with the Dressler's syndrome of haemoglobinuria named for Lucas Dressler, who characterized it in 1854.[5][6]



Dressler's syndrome is largely a self limiting disease that very rarely leads to pericardial tamponade.[citation needed] The syndrome consists of a persistent low-grade fever, chest pain (usually pleuritic in nature), a pericardial friction rub, and /or a pericardial effusion. The symptoms tend to occur 2 weeks post myocardial infarction, but can be delayed for a few months after infarction. It tends to subside in a few days. An elevated ESR is an objective laboratory finding.


It is believed to result from an autoimmune inflammatory reaction to myocardial neo-antigens formed as a result of the MI. A similar pericarditis can be associated with any pericardiotomy or trauma to the percardium or heart surgery.

Differential diagnosis

In the setting of myocardial infarction, Dressler's syndrome occurs in about 7% of cases,[7] and typically occurs 2-3 weeks post-myocardial infarction[8]. Dressler's syndome is also known as post-myocardial infarction syndrome, post-cardiac injury syndrome and postpericardiotomy syndrome. Dressler's syndrome needs to be differentiated from pulmonary embolism, another identifiable cause of pleuritic (and non-pleuritic) chest pain in people who have been hospitalized and/or undergone surgical procedures within the preceding weeks.


Dressler's syndrome is typically treated with NSAIDs such as aspirin or with corticosteroids.[9] However corticosteroids are reserved for rare cases and are seldom required.


  1. ^ Hutchcroft BJ (July 1972). "Dressler's syndrome". Br Med J 3 (5817): 49. doi:10.1136/bmj.3.5817.49-a. PMC 1788531. PMID 5039567. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1788531. 
  2. ^ Bendjelid K, Pugin J (November 2004). "Is Dressler syndrome dead?". Chest 126 (5): 1680–2. doi:10.1378/chest.126.5.1680. PMID 15539743. http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=15539743. 
  3. ^ Streifler J, Pitlik S, Dux S, et al. (April 1984). "Dressler's syndrome after right ventricular infarction". Postgrad Med J 60 (702): 298–300. doi:10.1136/pgmj.60.702.298. PMC 2417818. PMID 6728756. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=2417818. 
  4. ^ Dressler W (January 1959). "The post-myocardial-infarction syndrome: a report on forty-four cases". AMA Arch Intern Med 103 (1): 28–42. PMID 13605300. 
  5. ^ synd/3982 at Who Named It?
  6. ^ L. A. Dressler. Ein Fall von intermittirender Albuminurie und Chromaturie. Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin, 1854, 6: 264-266.
  7. ^ Krainin F, Flessas A, Spodick D (1984). "Infarction-associated pericarditis. Rarity of diagnostic electrocardiogram". N Engl J Med 311 (19): 1211–4. doi:10.1056/NEJM198411083111903. PMID 6493274. 
  8. ^ Khan, AH (1992). "The postcardiac injury syndromes". Clin Cardiol 15: 67–72. 
  9. ^ Gregoratos G (1990). "Pericardial involvement in acute myocardial infarction". Cardiol Clin 8 (4): 601–8. PMID 2249214. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • DRESSLER, WILLIAM — (1890–1969), U.S. cardiologist and electrocardiographer. Born and educated in Austria, Dressler went to the United States as a refugee in 1938. From that year until 1967 when he became consultant, Dressler served as chief of the Cardiology Clinic …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • cardiotomy syndrome — (postcardiotomy syndrome) a condition that may develop weeks or months after surgery to the heart and the membrane surrounding it (pericardium) and is characterized by fever and also pericarditis. Pneumonia and pleurisy may form part of the… …   Medical dictionary

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