What is acute pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

Acute pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium characterized by pericarditic chest pain, pericardial friction rub, and serial electrocardiographic (ECG) changes(eg, new widespread ST-elevation or PR depression; new/worsening pericardial effusion). [1, 2, 3, 4] Pericarditis and cardiac tamponade involve the potential space surrounding the heart or pericardium; pericarditis is one cause of fluid accumulation in this potential space, and cardiac tamponade is the hemodynamic result of fluid accumulation.

For more information, see the Medscape Drugs and Diseases articles Constrictive Pericarditis, Constrictive-Effusive Pericarditis, Pediatric Infective Pericarditis, and Imaging in Constrictive Pericarditis.

For patient education information, see the Cholesterol Center and Heart Health Center, as well as Pericarditis, Heart Attack, and Chest Pain.


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