Chronic Inflammation of the Heart Case.
WHEN acute pericarditis runs for more than ten days or a fortnight, it becomes chronic. It is chronic from the beginning, when it runs a slow, insidious course, without marked or violent symptoms.
The symptoms are much the same in kind with those of the acute form, only less in degree. This low grade of the symptoms of the disease renders it more obscure than the acute.
Treatment. Move the bowels freely by an injection (247), or by a purgative pill (31).
The strength and amount of the remedies employed in each case must be in proportion to the vigor of the patient's constitution.
It is of great importance that the treatment should be active and prompt, and that the disease should be broken down early.
Diluent, cooling drinks (132), (129), (298), (299), should be allowed as freely as the patient desires, in order to dilute the blood, and render it less stimulating to the heart.
At the same time, five to fifteen drop doses of tincture of veratrum viride should be given every hour, to bring down the action of the heart. Ten drop doses of tincture of digitalis every four hours are good.
Let the diet be wholly of barley .water, thin gruel, weak tea, or arrow root.
During recovery, the diet must be spare, and the greatest tranquility of mind and body be preserved.
In the treatment of chronic cases, when the cavity appears to contain fluid, counter irritation is suitable. Blisters, croton oil, the compound tar plaster, and especially the tincture of iodine. The diet may be a little more nutritious than in the acute form of the disease, embracing light animal food and broths.
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