Pericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Pericarditis is usually a complication of viral infections, most commonly echovirus or coxsackie virus. Less frequently, it is caused by influenza or HIV infection.
Infections with bacteria can lead to bacterial pericarditis (also called purulent pericarditis). Some fungal infections can also produce pericarditis.
In addition, pericarditis can be associated with diseases such as:
- Cancer (including leukemia)
HIV infectionand AIDS
Other causes include:
- Heart attack (see
- Injury (including surgery) or trauma to the chest, esophagus, or heart
- Medications that suppress the immune system
- Radiation therapy to the chest
Often the cause of pericarditis remains unknown. In this case, the condition is called idiopathic pericarditis.
Pericarditis most often affects men aged 20 - 50. It usually follows