Dressler's syndrome is a type of pericarditis — inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericardium). Dressler's syndrome is believed to be an immune system response after damage to heart tissue or to the pericardium, from events such as a heart attack, surgery or traumatic injury.
The original paper by Dressler in 1956 suggested an incidence of 3-4% of all cases of acute myocardial infarction.
It is likely that modern techniques that involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin have helped to reduce the incidence of this syndrome, Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids may be used, especially if there are severe and recurrent symptoms.
The Dressler's syndrome pain may initially suggest a further episode of angina or myocardial infarction. Pleuritic chest pain may also suggest pneumonia or pulmonary embolism. Prophylactic use of steroids before cardiac surgery offers no benefit.