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Glossary: Pericarditis

Pericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed. The cause of pericarditis is often unknown or unproven, but is often the result of an infection such as:

  • Viral infections that cause a chest cold or pneumonia, such as the echovirus or coxsackie virus (which are common in children), as well as influenza
  • Infections with bacteria (much less common) and some fungal infections (even more rare)

Other causes include:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart surgery or trauma to the chest, esophagus, or heart
  • Certain medications and some drugs used to treat cancer or suppress the immune system
  • Swelling or inflammation of the heart muscle

Source: NIH.gov

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