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Pericardial disease, or pericarditis, is inflammation of any of the layers of the pericardium. Inflammation may develop shortly after a triggering event. Such sudden inflammation is acute pericarditis (see Acute Pericarditis). Other times it may take a few weeks to a few months for pericarditis to develop. Pericarditis that develops within a few weeks to a few months after a triggering illness is called subacute pericarditis. Pericarditis that lasts longer than 6 months is chronic pericarditis Causes of pericarditis include:
• Heart surgery
• Heart attack
• Autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma)
HOW IS PERICARDIAL DISEASE DIAGNOSED?
A general physician can diagnose the condition during a physical examination when the patient presents the symptom of chest pain. An electrocardiogram and a chest X-ray may be necessary to diagnose the condition.
HOW IS PERICARDIAL DISEASE TREATED?
The treatment of the condition is based on the cause and diagnosis. Medications such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids are administered to treat the condition. Drainage of the excessive fluid may be necessary in cases when there is heart impairment.