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Transcript of Pericarditis
What is Pericarditis?
Pericardium: the two-layer membrane surrounding the heart
First layer is "fibrous" and elastic, second layer is "serous" and gel-like
For Acute (short-term) Pericarditis:
stabbing pain or pressure in chest, shoulders, neck, back or abdomen
weakness, palpitations, coughing, fever
There is a thin layer of fluid between the two layers of tissue in the pericardium, to keep them from touching and creating friction.
An inflamed pericardium cannot lubricate the heartbeats normally, so it rubs and scrapes.
This condition is called pericarditis and can lead to buildup of excess fluid between the tissues (called pericardial effusion) and other heart problems.
In some cases, pericarditis is thought to be a result of
autoimmune disorders (ex: lupus or schleroderma, where your antibodies attack your own tissues or cells)
In developed countries, ~80% of cases are either "idiopathic" or caused by viral infection.
Other possible infections that can cause pericarditis are bacterial or fungal infections.
Cases with Complications
Most cases of pericarditis are mild (when there is no known underlying cause, and there are no complications).
In this situation, the main goal of treatment is to reduce pain, inflammation and fever.
Doctors often simply advise rest and the condition clears up on it's own, or medicine like aspirin or ibuprofen is perscribed.
When there is a known cause (such as infection), antibiotics may be perscribed and sometimes surgery is required.
Possible medical complications include cardiac tamponade or pericardial effusion (which require a pericardiocentesis precedure) and constrictive pericarditis (for which the only cure is a pericardiectomy procedure).
Parker, S. (1993). Human body. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Health Topics. (2012, September 26). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/
Lilly, L. S. (2013). Treatment of Acute and Recurrent Idiopathic Pericarditis. Circulation, 127(16), 1723-1726. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.111.066365
Pericarditis only accounts for an average of 5% of ER visits
For Chronic (long-term or reoccuring) Pericarditis:
pain, tiredness, cough, shortness of breath
swelling of stomach and legs
hypotension (high blod pressure)
Pericarditis is often mistaken for a heart attack, but the pain worsens when you lie down or breathe deeply-
can be relieved by leaning forward and sitting up
Respiratory infections are the most common infection known to cause pericarditis.
certain medicines (phenotoin, warfarin, heparin, procainamide, etc.)
injury or puncture to chest
The mild cases are usually acute., and the time range of acute pericarditis is a few days to 3 weeks.
If the symptomatic fever of pericarditis is over 38 degrees celcius, a hosiptal stay is reccomended.
Even when managed/treated well, acute pericarditis can become reccurrent or "chronic", lasting for months