Pericarditis / Heart Bag Inflammation and Rheumatic Disease 4.33/5 (3)

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Chest X-ray. A: chest X-ray shows patchy consolidation with multiple nodular densities in both the lower lung fields and cardiomegaly. B: chest X-ray following treatment with steroids shows improved consolidation and cardiomegaly.

Pericarditis at SLE (Lupus) . Enlarged heart and seals in the lungs (A). Normally after treatment (B). Park KT, 2011. CC BY NC 3.0


Pericarditis most often causes increased fluid in the heart bag (pericardium) and can be a complication for some rheumatic diseases. Untreated, pericarditis can inhibit cardiac activity and develop serious complications. Usually a liquid exudate containing fibrin.


Pain in the chest that is relieved by sitting up. The pain can radiate to the shoulders and back

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • High CRP in blood samples

Disease Causes



Treatment: The underlying infection is treated


Treatment: The underlying infection is treated

Autoimmune rheumatic disease

Treatment: The underlying disease is treated

Autoinflammatory / Periodic Fever Syndromes


Post-cardiac injury

  • After a heart attack (Dressler syndrome)
  • After heart surgery and other heart attacks

Progress of acute pericarditis

  • Cardiovascular Disease (15%)
  • Heart Tamponade (1-2%
  • Recurring (15-30%)
    • Repeated recurrence (6%)
  • Constructive pericarditis
    • Reversible
    • Chronic (1-2%)

Reference: Creams, 2016


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