What is Pericarditis?

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What Is The Pericardium?

What is Pericarditis and the pericardium? The pericardium is a thin, two-layered, fluid-filled sac that covers the outer surface of the heart. It shields the heart from infection or malignancy and contains the heart in the chest wall. It also prevents the heart from over-expanding when blood volume increases, which keeps the heart functioning efficiently.


What is Pericarditis?

What Is Pericarditis?

What is Pericarditis? Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium. Pericarditis pain is usually acute. It feels like a sharp pain, usually described by the patient as a stabbing sensation. The pain develops suddenly and may last for days, up to several months.

The membrane around the heart becomes inflamed, red and swollen, like the skin around a cut that becomes infected. Sometimes excess fluid develops and builds up in the space between the pericardial layers, causing a pericardial effusion (buildup of excess fluid around the heart).  


What is Pericarditis?

It can start like a pain in the neck that can move to the left shoulder or even in the back of both shoulders. Patients usually describe a pain in the sides of the neck due to inflammation of the ganglions.

Other symptoms of pericarditis such as shortness of breath that increases when lying down can help your doctor determine an accurate diagnosis.

Uploaded by DrBobShow1 on Sep 22, 2011 Dr. Bob explains pericarditis, a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.

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