American Heart Association launches initiative to tackle recurrent pericarditis

About 40,000 people in the United States experience recurrent pericarditis, or inflammation of the sac-like structure that protects the heart, which can cause chest pain and may lead to fluid buildup around the heart muscle.

The American Heart Association, celebrating 100 years of lifesaving service in 2024, is launching a three-year initiative to empower patients and equip health care providers with up-to-date science to inform recurrent pericarditis care decisions.

The Addressing Recurrent Pericarditis initiative, supported by Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, aims to improve diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for those with the disease by:

  • addressing gaps and barriers in patient care,
  • educating health care professionals, and
  • developing tailored patient education resources.

Recurrent pericarditis symptoms can have significant impact on emotional health and quality of life, but they often go undiagnosed and untreated. This new initiative will share insights and best practices nationally to improve identification and treatment for patients with this disease."

Mariell Jessup, M.D., FAHA, chief science and medical officer of the American Heart Association

The Association will work with champions at 15 regional health care sites to implement initiative activities, improve site performance and quality of care, and support the Association's mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. Participating sites include:

  • Ascension St. Thomas Heart, in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern Medicine, in Chicago
  • Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland
  • Houston Medical Hospital, in Houston
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston
  • Mayo Clinic – Rochester, in Rochester, Minnesota
  • My Cardiologist/CVAUSA, in Miami
  • New York University Grossman School of Medicine, in New York City
  • Knight Cardiovascular Institute Cardiology Clinic, Oregon Health & Science University, in Portland, Oregon
  • Pacific Heart Institute, in Santa Monica, California
  • The Brigham & Women's Hospital, in Boston
  • The Regents of the University of California Irvine, in Irvine, California
  • University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • University of Utah Hospital, in Salt Lake City
  • University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia

"Kiniksa is proud to support the Addressing Recurrent Pericarditis initiative, which is aimed at improving care and outcomes for patients with recurrent pericarditis," said John F. Paolini, M.D., PhD, FACC, chief medical officer of Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals. "The participating health care sites and their teams will play a key role in facilitating knowledge-sharing across a collaborative network of health care providers around the country and streamlining patient access to expert care."

Pericarditis can be a single acute event, which happens suddenly and typically doesn't last long, or it can involve multiple "recurrent" episodes with up to 30% of people with a first event experiencing a recurrence. About 90% of cases have no identifiable cause.

Aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDS, are the mainstay of recurrent pericarditis therapy. In some cases, additional medications such corticosteroids or interleukin-1 (IL-1) inhibitors may also be used to achieve better disease control.

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