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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Pericarditis


Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium which is the fibrous sac of the heart. The pericardium is the protective layer of the heart which surrounds it



  • Viral infections like Coxsackie virus
  • Bacterial infection like pneumococcus or tuberculosis
  • Fungal
  • Idiopathic
  • Immunological conditions like lupus erythematous, rheumatic fever
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • HIV infection and Aids
  • Trauma to heart
  • Uremia
  • Malignancy
  • Side effects of some medications like isoniazid, cyclosporine, hydralazine
  • Radiation induced
  • Aortic dissection
  • Tetracyclines

 Clinical types

  • Serous pericarditis
  • Purulent pericarditis
  • Fibrous pericarditis
  • Caseous pericarditis
  • Hemorrhagic pericarditis

It can also be classified as acute or chronic

Acute pericarditis is very common. It usually occurs as a complication of infections, immunological conditions or heart attack.

Signs and symptoms

  • Chest pain: The pain of often referred to the back. It is relived by sitting up forward and worsened by lying down.
  • Ankle swelling
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Pleuritis
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Friction rub
  • Electrocardiogram shows ST-elevation, PR-depression in all the leads except in aVR and V1.

 Tests and diagnosis

  • Chest x-ray
  • MRI scan of the chest
  • Echocardiogram
  • Heart CT scan


  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Antibiotics
  • Analgesics for pain like non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Steroids
  • Colchicine
  • Surgery


  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Constrictive pericarditis
  • Heart failure