Pericarditis is a condition where swelling and irritation  occurs due to Inflammation around the pericardium. The Pericardium is a fibrous tissue that surround the Heart.

The primary symptoms are chest pain or chest discomfort.  But there are several other symptoms as well.

The onset of symptoms are usually very quick.

Chest pain is often a reason to seek medical attention. The quicker the diagnosis, the sooner treatment can be initiated to improve and resolve symptoms.

Two layers of the Pericardium

1.)  Inner visceral layer

2.)  Outer parietal layer

–  Fluid between the two layers is normal.
–  This fluid allows for lubrication and ease of movement.
–  However, when a serious inflammatory process occurs, there can be a large amount of fluid.

Three Classifications of Pericarditis

1.)  Acute  (<6 weeks)

–  More recent presentation of symptoms.
–  Usually a short duration of symptoms.
–  Acute is more common than Chronic.

2.)  Subacute  (6 weeks to 6 months)

–  An inbetween duration and symptoms.

3.)  Chronic  (>6 months)

–  Much longer duration
–  Less common than Acute

Causes:

–  Bacterial
–  Viral
–  Uremia
–  Autoimmune diseases
–  Neoplasms
–  Drugs
–  Surgery
–  Trauma
–  other

Symptoms

–  Chest pain
–  Chest discomfort
–  Fever
–  Upper respiratory infection may precede
–  Renal failure may precede
–  Night sweats
–  Fever
–  Fatigue
–  Depends largely on cause

Diagnosis

–  MRI or CT may be appropriate
–  Cardiac enzymes need to be checked
–  EKG can be helpful

Treatment

.    Aspirin
.    Steroids
.    Indomethacin
.    Colchicine
.    Dialysis in uremic pericarditis in some patients
.    Pericardiocentesis

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