Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Pericarditis

Pericarditis

What is pericarditis?

Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac (membrane) that surrounds the heart. There is a small amount of fluid between the inner and outer layers of the pericardium. Often, when the pericardium becomes inflamed, the amount of fluid between its two layers increases, causing a pericardial effusion. If the amount of fluid increases quickly, the effusion caused can impair the ability of the heart to function properly. A complication of pericarditis, which is a serious condition, is called cardiac tamponade.

What are the symptoms of pericarditis?

The following are the most common indicators of pericarditis. However, individuals may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of pericarditis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.

What causes pericarditis?

Usually, the cause of pericarditis is unknown, but may include any or all of the following:

Treatment for pericarditis

Specific treatment will be determined by your health care provider based on:

The goal of treatment for pericarditis is to determine and eliminate the cause of the disease. Treatment may include:

Pericarditis may last from two to six weeks, and there may be a recurrence of the disorder.

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Online Resources of Cardiovascular Disease

 

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