DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane surrounding your heart. Pericarditis often causes chest pain and sometimes other symptoms. The sharp chest pain associated with pericarditis occurs when the irritated layers of the pericardium rub against each other.
Pericarditis usually begins suddenly but doesn't last long (acute). When symptoms develop more gradually or persist, pericarditis is considered chronic.
Most cases are mild and usually improve on their own. Treatment for more-severe cases may include medications and, rarely, surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment may help to reduce the risk of long-term complications from pericarditis.
April 06, 2014
- Shammas NW, et al. Pericarditis, myocarditis, and other cardiomyopathies. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2013;40:213.
- What is pericarditis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/peri/. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- What is pericarditis? American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/What-is-Pericarditis_UCM_444931_Article.jsp#. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- Imazio M. Clinical presentation and diagnostic evaluation of acute pericarditis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- Acute coronary syndromes. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- Crawford MH, ed. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Cardiology. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.; The McGraw Hill Companies: 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=8. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- Imazio M. Treatment of acute pericarditis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 19, 2013.
- Lilly LS. Treatment of acute and recurrent idiopathic pericarditis. Circulation. 2013;127:1723.
- Imazio M, et al. A randomized trial of colchicines for acute pericarditis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;369:1522.
- Khandaker MH, et al. Pericardial disease: Diagnosis and management. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2010;85:572.