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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. 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. This condition is called pericardial tamponade.
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 a physician for diagnosis.
Usually, the cause of pericarditis is unknown, but may include any/all of the following:
Specific treatment will be determined by your physician 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.