Glossary of Pericarditis Terms

  • Acute pericarditis: Inflammation of the pericardium that develops suddenly and is accompanied by the sudden onset of symptoms.
  • Cardiac tamponade: A severe compression of the heart that impairs its ability to function. Cardiac tamponade is a medical emergency that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment.
  • Chronic pericarditis: Inflammation of the pericardium that lasts for three months or longer after the initial acute attack.
  • Constrictive pericarditis: A severe form of pericarditis in which the inflamed layers of the pericardium stiffen, develop scar tissue, thicken and stick together. Constrictive pericarditis interferes with the normal function of the heart.
  • Infectious pericarditis: Pericarditis that develops as the result of a viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection.
  • Idiopathic pericarditis: Pericarditis that does not have a known cause.
  • Pericardium: The thin, two-layered, fluid-filled sac that covers the outer surface of the heart.
  •  Pericardial effusion: Excess fluid build-up in the pericardium.
  • Pericardial window: A minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to drain fluid that has accumulated in the pericardium. This surgical procedure involves a small chest incision through which an opening is made in the pericardium.
  • Pericardiectomy: Surgical treatment of pericarditis that involves the removal of a portion of the pericardium.
  • Pericardiocentesis: A procedure performed to drain excess fluid from the pericardium with a catheter.
  • Traumatic pericarditis: Pericarditis that develops as the result of injury to the chest, such as after a car accident.
  • Uremic pericarditis: Pericarditis that develops as the result of kidney failure.

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