The pericardium is a fibrous sac that surrounds the heart and provides protection. It also contains a thin amount of fluid which serves as a lubricant to allow the heart to move easily within the sac.
Pericarditis is s condition where the sac surrounding the heart becomes inflamed leading to chest discomfort.
This is usually caused by viral illnesses, but can be caused by any condition which causes inflammation within the body.
Patients will usually complain of chest discomfort and possibly even shortness of breath.
Characteristically, the chest pain is worse with deep inspiration, lying on your back and with activity.
Often patients feel best sitting upright and leaning forward.
Often times drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are very successful at treating the condition.
Rarely, steroids or even colchicine may be useful if non-steroidal drugs are contraindicated in a particular patient.
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