Pericarditis (internal)

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This article discusses internal diseases. Pathology is discussed in the article Pericarditis (pathology).

Pericarditis is an inflammatory disease of the pericardium.

  • It occurs either as acute inflammation with effusion (this is accompanied by a risk for cardiac tamponade) or as a chronic inflammation with pericardial fibrosis, leading to constrictive pericarditis.
  • Usually, it is part of a systemic disease. For this reason, affected individuals must be monitored for a long time even after the pericarditis has diminished.

Acute pericarditis[edit | edit source]

ECG changes in pericarditis: elevation of the ST segment in the chest leads and depression of the ST segment in the aVR lead.
  • 2 forms:
    1. Dry, fibrinous - chest pain, pericardial friction murmur, ECG changes (typical pericardial changes of the ST segment and T wave)
    2. Exudative - effusion (diagnosed using echocardiography)[1]
  • Often takes place without clinical manifestations
  • Etiology: most often viral, but tumor involvement must always be excluded.
  • Therapy: symptomatic, according to etiology. Sometimes, antibiotics or corticoids are necessary.
  • The prognosis is favorable.
  • If there is a large effusion, a cardiac tamponade can ensue (symptoms and signs include shortness of breath, low cardiac output, paradoxical pulse, weakened pulse, dilatation of the heart shadow on chest X-ray).
  • One must consider the possibility of effusion in the pericardium in the first month after a heart operation.

Etiology[edit | edit source]

Constrictive pericarditis (pericarditis constrictiva)[edit | edit source]

  • Definition: a chronic condition in which a rigid pericardium barrier impedes normal filling of the heart with blood.[1]
  • Consequences: decreased cardiac output and marked blood congestion in the liver.
  • Clinical picture: shortness of breath, fatigue, and later on edema of the lower limbs, ascites, anorexia, weight loss, and dyspepsia[1]
  • In children it is very rare. In the past, it often was an inflammatory complication of TB.
  • It is very difficult to distinguish this condition from restrictive CM.

Links[edit | edit source]

Related Articles[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Source[edit | edit source]

  • BENEŠ, Jiří. Studijní materiály [online]. ©2007. [cit. 2010]. <>.

Reference[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c d KLENER, Pavel, et al. Internal Medicine. 3rd edition. Prague: Galén, 2006. p. 303.  ISBN 80-7262-430-X .