[2011] mason: Pericarditis

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[2011] mason: Pericarditis

PERICARDITISis swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane surrounding your heart.

Under normal circumstances, the two-layered pericardial sac that surrounds your heart contains a small amount of lubricating fluid. In pericarditis, the sac becomes inflamed and the resulting friction from the inflamed sac leads to chest pain.

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Complications:Constrictive pericarditis. Although uncommon, some people with pericarditis, particularly those with long-term inflammation and chronic recurrences, can develop permanent thickening, scarring and contraction of the pericardium.In these people, the pericardium loses much of its elasticity and resembles a rigid case that's tight around the heart, which keeps the heart from working properly. This condition is called constrictive pericarditis and often leads to severe swelling of the legs and abdomen, as well as shortness of breath.Cardiac tamponade. When too much fluid collects in the pericardium, a dangerous condition called cardiac tamponade can develop.Excess fluid puts pressure on the heart and doesn't allow it to fill properly. That means less blood leaves the heart, which causes a dramatic drop in blood pressure. Cardiac tamponade can be fatal if it isn't promptly treated.

The cause of pericarditis is often hard to determine. In most cases, doctors either are unable to determine a cause (idiopathic) or suspect a viral infection.Pericarditis can develop shortly after a major heart attack, due to the irritation of the underlying damaged heart muscle. In addition, a delayed form of pericarditis may occur weeks after a heart attack or heart surgery. This delayed pericarditis is known as Dressler's syndrome.

While listening to your heart, your doctor will place a stethoscope on your chest to check for the sounds characteristic of pericarditis, which are made when the pericardial layers rub against each other. This characteristic noise is called a pericardial rub.

The surface of the heart with hemorrhagic pericarditis demonstrates a roughened and red appearance. Hemorrhagic pericarditis is most likely to occur with metastatic tumor and with tuberculosis (TB). TB can also lead to a granulomatous pericarditis that may calcify and produce a "constrictive" pericarditis

The pericardium holds the heart in place and helps it work properly. The sac is made of two thin layers of tissue that enclose your heart. Between the two layers is a small amount of fluid. This fluid keeps the layers from rubbing against each other and causing friction

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