There are many causes of pericarditis, but it is often a complication of a viral infection (viral pericarditis) – usually a gastrointestinal virus, or less commonly the flu virus or AIDS. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection (bacterial pericarditis), fungal infection (fungal pericarditis) or parasitic infection (parasitic pericarditis).
Certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma can also cause pericarditis.
Additional Causes Of Pericarditis
Additional causes of pericarditis include injury to the chest such as after a car accident (traumatic pericarditis), other health problems such as kidney failure (uremic pericarditis), tumors, genetic diseases such as Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), or rarely, medications that work to suppress the immune system.
The risk of pericarditis is greater after a heart attack or after heart surgery (Dressler’s syndrome), radiation therapy or a percutaneous treatment, such as cardiac catheterization or radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
In these cases, many experts believe that pericarditis is the result of the body mistakenly producing an inflammatory response to the pericardium. After bypass surgery, symptoms of pericarditis may not occur until several weeks after surgery.
In many cases of pericarditis, the cause is unknown. Pericarditis with an unknown cause is referred to as idiopathic pericarditis.
Pericarditis often becomes recurrent after the initial episode and attacks can last over many years.
Since there are so many causes of pericarditis, it is highly recommended that you answer every question your doctor asks you to the best of your ability – regardless of whether or not they seem related to your condition.
Every answer you provide will assist your doctor in determining exactly what the underlying cause of your pericarditis is, and will help to determine the best possible course of treatment. For more information, click here