What is it?

The pericardium is a thin two-layered sac that surrounds your heart. The layers have a small amount of fluid between them to prevent friction when the heart beats.
Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium, that may be acute or chronic.
In general, pericarditis can have infectious or noninfectious causes. Infectious causes include: viral, bacterial, or fungal infections.
Noninfectious causes include: a recent surgery or a heart attack (known as Dressler syndrome), radiation therapy, autoimmune conditions such as lupus, kidney failure and uremia, cancer, side effect of some medications, or an unknown reason (called Idiopathic).
The pericardial sac may also have adhesions or become scarred, fibrotic and thickened and lose its elasticity, which may limit the heart action and even lead to a heart failure. This may be caused by chronic pericarditis or repeated events of acute pericarditis, radiation therapy, tuberculosis infection, post-surgery, and more.

38 Alikes with Pericarditis

Learn from others
who are experiencing

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Constrictive Pericarditis
- Cardiac Tamponade

Signs & symptoms

The most common symptom of acute pericarditis is chest pain, that usually worsens when you lie flat and take deep breaths, and is typically relieved by sitting up or bending forward. The pain may also radiate to your back.
Fever and fatigue may be present as well.


Your doctor will ask about your medical history, what your symptoms are, when your symptoms began, and what seems to make them worse or better. They’ll give you a physical exam and listen to your heart with a stethoscope to look for signs of pericarditis.
Additional tests may include:
* ECG – measures the electrical activity of your heart
* Echocardiogram – an ultrasound of your heart that will show the shape, size and function of your heart and whether there is fluid collection around the heart.
* Blood tests
* Chest X-ray
in some cases of chronic conditions, other imaging tests may be required, such as CT or MRi scans.


acute Pericarditis is usually treated successfully with anti inflammatory drugs such as NSAID's or aspirin. Colchicine may be added to the above as it decreases the risk of further episodes of pericarditis.
More severe or chronic cases may require:
*Antibiotics if a bacterial infection is suspected
*Pericardiocentesis – drainage of excess fluid from the pericardium.
*in rare cases – surgery.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

Alike Wisdom

Instantly get answers to medical questions with our AI, built from the collective wisdom of our community facing similar experiences

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Find people who are
experiencing a similar
medical reality

100% Free