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  What Is Pericarditis?Pericarditis (PER-ih-kar-DI-tis) is a condition in which the membrane, or sac, around your heart is inflamed !his sac is called the ericardium ( er-ih-#$R-de-um)!he ericardium holds the heart in lace and hel s it work ro erly !he sac is made of two thin layers of tissue that enclose your heart %etween the two layers is a small amount of fluid !his fluid kee s the layers from rubbin& a&ainst each other and causin& frictionn ericarditis, the layers of tissue become inflamed and can rub a&ainst the heart !his causes chest ain, a common sym tom of ericarditis!he chest ain from ericarditis may feel like ain from a heart attack 'ore often, the ain may be shar and &et worse when you inhale, and im roe when you are sittin& u and leanin& forward If you hae chest ain, you should call *+*+ ri&ht away, as you may be hain& a heart attackeriewIn many cases, the cause of ericarditis is unknown iral infections are likely a common cause of  ericarditis, althou&h the irus may neer be found %acterial, fun&al, and other infections also can cause ericarditisther ossible causes include heart attack or heart sur&ery, other medical conditions, in.uries, and certain medicinesPericarditis can be acute or chronic /$cute/ means that it occurs suddenly and usually doesn0t last lon& /1hronic/ means that it deelo s oer time and may take lon&er to treat%oth acute and chronic ericarditis can disru t your heart0s normal rhythm or function and ossibly (althou&h rarely) lead to death 2oweer, most cases of ericarditis are mild3 they clear u on their own or with rest and sim le treatmentther times, more intense treatments are needed to reent com lications !reatments may include medicines and, less often, rocedures or sur&eryutlookIt may take from a few days to weeks or een months to recoer from ericarditis With ro er and rom t treatment, such as rest and on&oin& care, most eo le fully recoer from ericarditis Pro er treatment also can hel reduce the chance of &ettin& the condition a&ainther 4ames for PericarditisIdio athic ericarditis !his term refers to ericarditis with no known cause $cute ericarditis1hronic ericarditis1hronic effusie ericarditis and chronic constrictie ericarditis !hese are forms of chronic ericarditisRecurrent ericarditisWhat 1auses Pericarditis?In many cases, the cause of ericarditis (both acute and chronic) is unknowniral infections are likely a common cause of ericarditis, althou&h the irus may neer be found Pericarditis often occurs after res iratory infections %acterial, fun&al, and other infections also can cause ericarditis  'ost cases of chronic, or recurrin&, ericarditis are thou&ht to be the result of autoimmune disorders E5am les of such disorders include lu us, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritisWith autoimmune disorders, the body0s immune system makes antibodies ( roteins) that mistakenly attack the body0s tissues or cellsther ossible causes of ericarditis are62eart attack and heart sur&ery#idney failure, 2I7$ID8, cancer, tuberculosis, and other health roblems!rauma to the chest or rior radiation thera y to the chest $utoimmune diseases, includin& ulceratie colitis1ertain medicines, like henytoin (an antisei9ure medicine), warfarin and he arin (blood-thinnin& medicines), and rocainamide (a medicine to treat irre&ular heartbeats
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