Pericarditis is the inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the pericardium or around the heart. The pericardium is a two-layered thin sac that is filled with a fluid. It covers the outer surface of the heart and protects it. It also provides lubrication for the heart and shields it from any infection.
The heart is a muscular organ about the size of a closed fist that functions as our body’s circulatory pump. It takes in deoxygenated blood through the veins and delivers it to the lungs for oxygenation and then pumps this oxygenated blood into the arteries. Learn more about its structure, anatomy, function, and pathophysiology.
A common symptom of acute pericarditis is a sharp, stabbing pain in chest that usually comes quickly. It occurs mostly in the middle or left side of the chest. Sometimes, there is pain in one or both shoulders too.
Pericarditis can be diagnosed through ECG. It is a painless and non-invasive test with quick results. You will be asked to lay flat on a table and chest raised a little. The patient is asked to relax for a few minutes during an ECG procedure so that the electrodes can be placed properly to give reliable results.
Malignant pericardial effusion is a serious manifestation in advanced cancers like lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and hematological melagnancies such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is characterized by cancers which cause extra fluid or blood to collect inside the pericardium.
Our heart is surrounded by a sac which is filled with a small amount of fluid. The fluid around the heart keeps on moving as it is continually produced and drained. This makes the level of the liquid to stay constant. Sometimes, the drainage system gets disturbed due to some problems or diseases.
Pericarditis makes the sac covering your heart inflamed and swollen followed by severe pain in the chest. There are many factors that can contribute to worsening of the condition if not controlled at the right time. Stress is one of them. Stress can affect any organ system.