Inflammation of the Pericardium, the membrane enveloping the heart.
The inflammatory process can be a reaction to an infectious agent, such as virus, to toxic substances, or without the presence of an external infectious factor, a condition resulting from exaggerated activity of the immune system (auto-immune reaction).
Sometimes, Pericarditis can develop in early or late stages of recovery from Myocardial Infarction. It can be an acute or a chronic process.
Symptoms may include breathing difficulties, rhythm disturbances and fever.
Sometimes, as a result of the inflammatory process, fluid can accumulate between the Pericardium layers. This is called Pericardial Effusion. In some cases, chronic thickening of the firm, fibrous layer, can result. This can be an impediment for the relaxation of the heart and its filling with blood.
The treatment is according to the causative factor.