Pericarditis after second Moderna vac... - British Heart Fou...

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Pericarditis after second Moderna vaccine, advice and input required

Footymadmanc profile image

Hi, Im pretty new here apart from interacting on the odd post.

A bit about me first, I'm 34, never smoked and rarely drink. I keep fit with gym work and running and have to be fit for my job as a firefighter.

10 days after my second vaccine I presented at A&E with an odd mild chest pain on my left side of my chest. They kept me in for 4 nights while they investigated and came to the conclusion of Pericarditis going off slight ST elevation on my ECGs and an Echocardiogram suggestive of Pericarditis. They discharged me on 400mg Ibuprofen 3x daily and said it will clear up and an outpatient appt with the cardiologist in 6 weeks time. After leaving my symptoms changed, one week I had the pain in my shoulder and left arm and weakness on my left side and then a week later a pain when inhaling across the middle of my back which affected my ability to move around without being in a lot of pain. I presented at A&E both times and had the usual bloods which were all clear and ECG and X ray. The ECG still suggestive of pericarditis so told both times to just carry on with the Ibuprofen and it will clear up. None of this very reassuring while I'm at home feeling like its never going to go and at anytime I could have a heart attack or it get worse.

After 6 weeks I saw the cardiologist. I explained everything and he asked if the Ibuprofen did anything to which I replied at times I think it helped but my symptoms never improved they were up and down and it's still present. He said to stop those and put me on Colchicine 2x daily 0.5mg and said he will see me in 10 weeks time because he know it will be gone then. I'm only 4 days in and I'm not confident one bit it will clear up.

I can't work until it has cleared up because my job requires me sometimes to work hard in hot conditions and is a physical role.

Can people please share the experience/opinions as it's getting me down and hard to just trust what they say and wait it out.

I've done research online and other people have frequent echo's and MRIs so they can physically see if the inflammation is improving or worsening. My cardiologist didn't do any of those he just went off the first set of tests over 6 weeks ago.

How can they know if it's improving without actually regularly seeing it on MRI/Echo ?

All your input is welcomed and feel free to ask questions.


35 Replies

I’m sorry this happened to you. People are pretty unaccepting on here of admitting there are any real reactions to these jabs. I would say push to get all of the tests! I have 2 family members who had heart attacks shortly after their 2nd jabs. It’s better to get it all checked than possibly miss something.

Yass_123 profile image
Yass_123 in reply to Niki_

Hi honestly I am waiting to have my second jab only because I have to have it to see close relatives but I am really getting more scared reading the reports of secon jab side affects it is mentally affecting because to see my relatives I have to have it otherwise with reading other people's experiences I would not may I ask what covid jab was it thank you

I had the Moderna vaccine but the same problems are equally happening with the Pfizer as they are pretty much the same technology.

Thanks for your reply but all this seems not fair to us all as I have heard many now say side affects after second but some countries insist on both jabs for general living or deprive us of visiting loved ones yes covid is here we may or may get it butvalso the jab has consequences we may or may not have side affects I'm so worried nitnknowing wh to do which will probably mk my heart condition worse I hope we will see an end to this illness soon

Yass_123 profile image
Yass_123 in reply to Niki_

Sorry to hear about your family members but are they OK after heart attacks and also wh jab was it there are so many different side affects and some people have none it's so difficult deciding to have it or not I would not have it but to travel insists on it

Niki_ profile image
Niki_ in reply to Yass_123

One of theirs hearts has mostly recovered the other has a lot of damage. I don’t think these travel restrictions will last long term nor will the societal ones .. that’s what I’m holding out for. I won’t compromise my health with the jab. Covid has a 99.8% Survival rate

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Niki_

Anybody with a heart condition is at higher risk of major complications if they caught Covid, some of us more than others.

The overwhelming evidence is that the benefits of vaccination outweight the very very small risk of the vaccination.

I am not interested in anymore dialogue. You are habitually, subtly anti vaccine, please consider that by encouraging someone not to be vaccinated that you maybe responsible for some else coming to harm.

However you are unaccountable, unlike a healthcare professional.

Niki_ profile image
Niki_ in reply to Milkfairy

Please feel free to not respond to anything I say! You are habitually and unapologetically in denial of the real risk of this vaccine for heart patients.. heart related adverse reactions are through the roof .. your efforts to silence anybody who speaks this is disgusting!

Niki_ profile image
Niki_ in reply to Milkfairy

Oh and for the record I have never told anyone not to get this vaccine. So stop

kkatz profile image
kkatz in reply to Milkfairy

Sorry but because people are worried by there own experience or known possible heart related reactions they are anti vax?Too many of us cannot get answers to what we feel quite strongly that are vaccination related probs.

However my opinion is I would definitely have probs with COVID so I have had both jabs.Now worried about having a different vaccine as a booster

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to kkatz

I had a reaction to my first AZ vaccine, I spent 8 days in hospital as a result. It is not unreasonable to worry about any treatment's side effects.

However there are certain individuals who have had their comments removed as they are giving false information.

Anybody can post mis information about vaccines on the forum. They are not accountable , unlike a healthcare professional.

Is that acceptable?

Hi, so sorry to hear this but do push for more tests and treatment. My husband has been diagnosed with heart failure and A fib triggered by his second covid vaccine - this has been diagnosed by two independent cardiologists. He was breathless and tired but couldn’t get a doctors appointment so just left it until he ended up on the cardiac ward. He also was fit, ex firefighter, non smoker, healthy diet etc

He’s now (privately) booked in for a heart ‘reset’ to try to get rid of the A fib and see if that helps the damage.

So please don’t leave it just in case you get more permanent damage.

So much good luck in your treatment.

Footymadmanc profile image
Footymadmanc in reply to suenew7

Thanks for your reply.

The drug I’m on Colchicine is the correct drug according to my research. They try this in combination with Ibuprofen before they try steroids which usually work but encourage it reoccurring.

I’m going to phone and try and move my appointment to 4 weeks time instead of 10 because I feel it’s too long. The cardiologist also said if you feel better after 4 weeks then start to gradually exercise then return to work. If I feel better I still want an echocardiogram/MRI to confirm it’s fully gone to prevent a flare up or making it worse before I return to work.

I have thought about going private but I’m unsure of the paths to take and also the cost implications. I will probably continue with this path and see what happens.

My symptoms are mild compared to others and what I’ve read. I have no breathlessness, fatigue, or fever. I just have this feeling which is like having a stitch over my heart with a slight pressure. Other than that I feel fine. I’m just looking to get rid of it as fast as I can so I can get back to work.


I don't have the knowledge to say which scan would be best. I had an Echocardiagram do check for heart failure & went private with the spire.Had results within about 10 days .Cost £426 with cardiologist report.You do need GP to refer you and result goes to go but obviously you are entitled to a copy.Ask him more about this.Hope you get something sorted.

We were lucky that I kept up a private health insurance plan with Aviva, they were brilliant at getting a quick appointment. I definitely think you should try to get a scan/echo as soon as possible to check before you go back to work. Not as though you do a desk job! Hope you are soon better and back at work 😊

Footymadmanc profile image
Footymadmanc in reply to suenew7

Thank you and I will keep you updated 👍🏻

Hiya, Footy. I've just ticked to follow you - I try to keep up with all the pericarditis members here. Apologies in advance for what will seem an over-long reply but there is a lot of information to share:)

There is a Facebook pericarditis group that earns high marks - I don't FB so I can't link it for you but if you FB, a quick search on the site should bring up the group for you to join.

Quick answer to your question re monitoring is if you can get the GP surgery to cooperate, a simple 'chest listen' for 'pericardial friction rub' sound is the quickest most efficient method to monitor status. One thing, though, the person (usually the practice nurse) must be well-trained to hear and distinguish the pericardial friction rub sound. Ask your surgery if they can do this for you. Mine does it, lol, full PPE for the nurse and mask+double hand sanitiser for me, and it saves the NHS loads of money not having to do an echo or chest x-ray every few weeks.

I have recurrent pericarditis, since the late 1990s after a bout with Stage2 Dengue Fever (and a few other conditions, sigh) and was given the Moderna vaccine before the side effect of myocarditis and pericarditis were reported in large enough numbers to cause medics some concern. The 2nd jab indeed had me in an 'acute flare' (what recurrent pericarditis episodes are termed) - still in it months on but slowly (dare I say it?) coming out of it.

Recovery from pericarditis can take a rather long time, if you can tolerate Colchicine it does shorten recovery time slightly. I can't tolerate the medication so make do with aspirin as I can't tolerate the alternatives any better than I can Colchicine.

The following is my list of tried and true self-care tips accumulated over 20+years of having recurrent pericarditis. Feel free to copy/paste to a printable document to post on the fridge for offline reference. All the best to you, and please keep us updated. You WILL get through this despite it seeming endless the now.

General tips for coping:

**Sleep with your upper body elevated - either several pillows stacked, bound, and laid lengthwise down the bed, or a wedge pillow, or an adjustable back rest

**Avoid sleeping on your left side as the pain is worse if you put weight on the inflamed pericardium sleeping on your left side

**Avoid heat, humidity, and mould - no hot tubbing, sauna, steam bath, long hot showers even though directing hot shower spray at your left side is nice for temporary pain relief, the humidity WILL cause the pain to increase soon after leaving the shower

**A hot water bottle laid along the left side of your rib cage can go a long way towards easing pain for a longer lasting bit of pain relief

**Avoid strenuous activity - DO NOT think a good day means you can catch-up things you have had to 'let go', overdoing on a good day only leads to several bad ones

**Try to get at least 7 hours sleep per night. Eight is better but 7 is good

**Keep to a nutritious well balanced diet with lots of green leafy veg, fruit, and high quality protein like meat and cheese (but try to keep to a lower salt content if you have effusion - don't go overboard on lowering salt intake but try to keep it under 5g per day)

**Be alert to symptoms your condition is worsening: -

• 'swinging fever' where it's high, then lower, then higher again in a matter of hours over a day

• shortness of breath on slightest exertion and/or waking you in the middle of the night

• night cough or cough when lying down

• 'fat fingers' and other signs of fluid retention including ‘shiny skin’ - these are signs of building pericardial effusion that could lead to a condition called 'cardiac tamponade' - when excess fluid build-up in your pericardium reaches a level that is beginning to affect heart function (like, beating). It is a life-threatening condition

Thanks for your reply

The I had all the tests bloods, ECG and Echo when I was kept in. They listened to my chest and back and did some x rays and all fine.

I just thought on my first appt with the cardiologist he would listen to my chest or do a scan to see if there was any improvements.

I know they are the experts but while I was in for 4 days and the two times I’ve been back to A&E I’ve been told so many different things.

One doctor said my ECG mimicked someone who’s had a heart attack, then another doctor and the cardiologist said no it just suggests Pericarditis.

Another doctor when I went to A&E with pain across my back when inhaling said he sees no reason why I can’t exercise as I don’t have shortness of breath??? I ignored that.

I just thought at the first appointment he would have checked for some improvements. The cardiologist said if I feel better after 4 weeks on Colchicine then I can return to exercise and work but I would like to see him, have some tests and make sure it’s fully gone before doing any of that so I’m going to try and bring forward my appointment.

Thanks again for the info

Also forgot to add, at the start in hospital it was a little awkward trying to sleep but at my current stage I feel ok when lying down to sleep. I avoid my left side but I’m fine in all other positions and sleep well. I actually wake up in a morning and think ‘it’s gone’ and feel ok. Soon as I get up and move around it comes back. I don’t have any of those symptoms you mentioned but will keep my eye out for them.

Rest is the key I know with the medication so hopefully it works in time. I find it hard to rest with a two year old and another one due in three weeks but I will do my best. 👍🏻

Hi, so sorry to hear of this awful reaction. I had myocarditis with pericarditis a few years ago.I suspect the cardiologist felt 6weeks was too soon to see much change in the swelling of your heart but hopefully you will get a scan at the next appt - sadly it would have been useful if you'd been told that. Heart problems are so very scarey. They definitely do have you on the right medication but my best advice is to rest, rest and then rest some more. Your heart has gone through an ordeal and like any v badly strained/pulled muscle it needs time to recover. Even on a good day in these early weeks do not over do it and stay off work as long as you can.

I really hope you start to see some improvements so BUT this particular condition takes 'time'

Wishing you all the very best for a full recovery, take care.

Footymadmanc profile image
Footymadmanc in reply to HHH2017


Thanks for your reply.

I only have Pericarditis so it’s just the swelling of the sack around the heart not the actual heart muscle. I will definitely be resting though and not doing any form of exercise until I’ve had the all clear.

Has yours cleared up and how long did it take if so?


HHH2017 profile image
HHH2017 in reply to Footymadmanc

As you saw I had both & very acutely. I was in hospital for nearly 3 weeks and have permanent damage to my heart and its still swollen after nearly 4 yrs🤷🏻‍♀️But different to your circumstances.My bro in law had pericarditis and took 6months to fully recover. Went back to a physical job after 4months which was poss too early and slowed progress. Both conditions really need rest and relaxation and a slow & gradual return to activity in my experience. Few people on here witha raft of experience of pericarditis so hopefully you'll get some helpful advice from them soon.

Hi, I was disgnosed with pericarditis 6 weeks after the 1st Pfizerjab. Obviously I can't be sure it was the jab which caused it but I'venever had any heart problems before. I'm 66 now. So I'm not risking any further jabs as I understand I could have an even worse reaction. A friend of mine had a heart attack a few days after the AZ jab.

As I have previously had chronic kidney disease I wasn't prescribed ibuprofen as they think it might have set off my CKD. My kidney function is normal now by the way. So I was prescribed colchicine for 2 weeks. It didn't go away so I was told to take it for a further 3 months which seems to have worked. I don't really have any pain now, just a few sensations which I'm not too keen on! All the best, I hope you feel better soon.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to

I am sorry you had a reaction to your vaccine.

Most of us on the forum are existing heart patients and therefore at high risk of becoming very unwell even dying if we catch Covid

I also had a reaction to my first AZ vaccine, it made my vasospastic angina unstable and I ended up in hospital.

I had no problems after my 2nd vaccination.

Have you spoken to a Cardiologist for further advice regarding your options regarding a second vaccination?

Some people are offered a different type of vaccine or delay the second dose.

in reply to Milkfairy

I've read that the 2nd can be even worse, so I'm not taking the risk. I realise that might be a mistake but when death rates are so low and even long covid is rare, I have decided the risk of getting a worse reaction is greater than the risk of dying.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to

Have you spoken to a Healthcare professional about your decision?

I hope you are able to make a decision that is based on reliable information that is best for you as an individual.

Doctor Google's consulting room isn't necessarily the best source of information.

Good luck!

Footymadmanc profile image
Footymadmanc in reply to


Thanks for your reply

Having your second one could make you worse but you also could be fine. If my partner wasn’t pregnant I wouldn’t of had it until further testing not because I don’t believe in it just because I’m a lower risk with my age and fitness. After years of testing Or if I was in a vulnerable category I would of had it no questions asked.

That’s good that it worked after months on Colchicine, it give me some hope that it will work and go away.


It makes you wonder, about this drugs that we put in our bodies? I had a mild heart attack 3.5 weeks after I had my first AstraZeneca, never had a problem before, and it's only reading posts here that I got the feeling that mine is related to the vaccine as well.... I spend 2 days in hospital and was sent home with Bisoprolol and Aspirin, which had to be change by my GP as I was violently sick for a whole month that I was taking the Bisoprolol....I have been trying now since June to contact the Cardiologist secretary and they do not get back to me, So I decided to contact PALS now and see what happens next.

Hi 'footymadmanc'

I am sorry as the others are here, that this happened to you and you need to be here for advice. Scary business when it is our heart. Only advice i can give is don't push for MRI if you will be told to have gadolinium contrast dye. I had a cardiac MRI with this agent and it changed my life forever causing permanent neuropathic burning pain and a host of other adverse reactions. I am not alone in this, though many are ok, again it is a risk. For further info to make an informed decision go to Gadolinium is a toxic heavy metal but they make it supposedly safe by putting it in a chelating agent. However, some people get life changing pain. I know this as I'm in a support group of 1000 people worldwide. You can also have an MRI and decline the agent of course but it is not easy to say no. To become your own researcher is always a good thing so you can choose. As someone else mentioned, I think an echocardiogram is more appropriate for pericarditis anyway I really really hope you get better soon. I'll see if I can find out anything else about pericarditis healing meanwhile and post further if I do. Best wishes to you.

Thanks for your reply.

I won’t push for that if it’s not required I would be happy with an Echocardiogram at each appointment to see if there’s been improvement. I will give the Colchicine the full course and see where I’m at. Unsure weather to re-introduce the ibuprofen which I was on at first. They are usually used side by side but the cardiologist said the ibuprofen is to help with the pain if it’s really bad but as my pain is mild/moderate I don’t need it.

It’s confusing and a lot to take on but will hopefully report back soon with some good news.


TRST profile image
TRST in reply to Warm-heart

Really interesting Warm-heart.

I was told beforehand that my MRI would be without contrast, and then when I got there I was told it was with gado. I declined contrast, and still had the MRI, but I was treated very roughly and with no respect. You have to stand your ground!

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Warm-heart

Can you please provide the evidence to support your views?

Why would any Cardiologist send their patients to a potentially harmful procedure as you suggest?

I am of course very sorry that you have had a very rare adverse reaction.

However, for people to make an informed choice they need to know what the actual risk really is, by being informed by reliable non biased evidence.

Warm-heart profile image
Warm-heart in reply to Milkfairy

Because my cardiologist was not aware of the risk, nor was the radiologist. I was not given the information on the leaflet about side effects til afterwards, nor my GFR measured, nor did I sign a consent form as is required. It is simply that everyone is informed it is fine. However it is well know that Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis can result from low GFR/ poor kidney function, and the research you will find on the website I mentioned is totally reliable. Please do take a look, there is a lot of research now on its toxicity. The gadolinium contrast agent is given us in a chemical 'basket' that is supposed to keep the heavy metal ions from harming & leave the body in 24 hrs. But it has been proven that everyone retains gadolinium to some extent after an MRI (I would need to search out that particular paper) and also that it does not leave the body within 24 hrs. (Easily proven with a urine test). It just depends on the individual if a reaction shows up but also gadolinium is cumulative with successive injections. Here is a most excellent document. gdtoxicity.files.wordpress.... I have many contacts worldwide and in the UK with life changing symptoms from it. Thanks for asking, it is good to enable people to make informed choices for sure. In my case an MRI without contrast would have shown what was needed but I was strongly persuaded to have it none the less. All intentions were good however, I don't doubt that! I hope this answers your question Milkfairy.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Warm-heart

Thank you for your answer.

I still would be interested in the actual numbers and percentage of patients affected.

Helen_BHF profile image

Hi everyone. If you have any concerns about the vaccine, particularly for those living with heart and circulatory conditions, the BHF have an FAQs page here:

Our cardiac nurses will also be happy to chat, you can contact them here:

Please remember that content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Thanks all :)

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