A 25-year-old insulin-dependent diabetic man who was admitted to hospital with severe diabetic ketoacidosis and dehydration showed sequential electrocardiographic abnormalities of acute pericarditis. Though the patient had retrosternal chest pain, no pericardial friction rub was heard. None of the usual causes of pericarditis was found and the electrocardiographic abnormality may have been attributable to subepicardial injury caused by dehydration associated with the ketoacidosis. The abnormalities on the electrocardiogram were transient, returning to normal after 5 days. Whatever the exact underlying nature of the pericarditis, it is important to recognise that such transient changes may occur as, in the absence of other obvious causes of pericarditis, the condition is benign.
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