Dressler syndrome: Fibrinous or fibrinohaemorrhagic secondary pericarditis that occurs as a result of injury to the heart or pericardium, either from myocardial infarction (MI) or cardiac surgery. Also known as postmyocardial infarction syndrome

Initially described by William Dressler (1890 – 1969) as a condition developing as early as 2-3 days after a transmural infarct, due to underlying myocardial inflammation

Exact cause is unknown but appears to be an immune-mediated response to injury to pericardial cells with subsequent immune complex deposition in the pericardium causing an inflammatory response

Although an uncommon condition it should be considered in patients with persistent fatigue or malaise following MI or cardiac surgery

History of Dressler syndrome

In an initial study in 1956 examining Dressler Syndrome, William Dressler suggested an incidence rate of 3-4% in patients with myocardial infarction. With modern management these rates now appear to be much lower

Associated Persons

Alternative names
  • Post myocardial infarction syndrome (PMIS)


Historical reports


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the names behind the name

MBBS (UWA) CCPU (RCE, Biliary, DVT, E-FAST, AAA) Emergency Medicine Advanced Trainee in Melbourne, Australia. Special interests in diagnostic and procedural ultrasound, medical education, and ECG interpretation. Editor-in-chief of the LITFL ECG Library. Twitter: @rob_buttner

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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