Pericarditis is inflammation of the sac that surrounds and protects the heart (pericardium). Pericarditis can cause an abnormal buildup of fluid between the pericardium and the heart (pericardial effusion).
Pericarditis often improves without causing any damage to the heart. But if pericarditis causes excess fluid to build up quickly, pressure on the heart increases (cardiac tamponade), and the heart may fail.
The most common cause of pericarditis is infection with a virus. Other causes include bacterial infection, heart attack, chest injury, and medicine side effects.
Symptoms of pericarditis include:
Treatment for pericarditis may include medicines to reduce inflammation and relieve pain and antibiotics if the cause is a bacterial infection. If there is any fluid buildup, it may be drained.