PERICARDITIS

01 Jul 2019

ABSTRACT –

Pericarditis is an inflammation or irritation of the pericardium which is sac-like membrane around the heart. Acute and sharp chest pain occurs in this condition. Pericardial layers rub against each other which leads to irritation and pain. Common cause of pericarditis is a viral infection. Pericarditis usually does not last for longer period and improves on its own. Treatment is required to treat chronic pericarditis.

CAUSES –

  • Viral Infection such as Enteroviruses, HIV, Herpes simplex, Influenza etc
  • Swelling of pericardial sac
  • Friction between inflamed pericardial sac
  • Heart attack or damaged heart muscles
  • Systemic inflammatory disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus
  • Other health disorders like Kidney Failure, TB, AIDS, Cancer, etc.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS –

  • Sharp and stabbing chest pain (especially in the left side)
  • Breathlessness
  • Palpitation
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Fever
  • Cough

COMPLICATIONS –

  • Constrictive Pericarditis
  • Cardiac Tamponade

DIAGNOSIS –

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • CT Scan and MRI of the heart

TREATMENT –

  • Medications such as Corticosteroids, Pain relievers and Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Surgery:
    1. Pericardiocentesis: A small tube is inserted into the pericardial cavity to drain excess fluid.
    2. Pericardiectomy: The entire sac is removed by surgery

EPIDEMIOLOGY –

  • Males are more prone to get affected than females which increases with age mostly between 20-50 years.

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