is inflammation of the sac that surrounds and protects the heart (pericardium). Pericarditis
can cause an abnormal buildup of fluid between the pericardium and the heart (pericardial
Pericarditis often improves without causing any damage to the heart.
But if pericarditis causes excess fluid to build up quickly, pressure on the heart
increases (cardiac tamponade), and the heart may fail.
The most common cause
of pericarditis is infection with a virus. Other causes include bacterial infection,
heart attack, or chest injury.
Symptoms of pericarditis include:
sudden pain in the center or the left side of the chest that may spread to the neck,
back, shoulders, or arms. Breathing deeply, moving, or lying down often makes the
pain worse. Sitting up and leaning forward may relieve the pain.
general feeling of weakness or fatigue.
Treatment for pericarditis may
include medicines to reduce inflammation and relieve pain and antibiotics if the cause
is a bacterial infection. If there is any fluid buildup, it may be drained.
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology &
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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