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Causes and symptoms of pericarditis

What is pericarditis?

Pericarditis is called an inflammatory disease of the pericardium (serous membrane of the heart). Most often it is a complication of various diseases (rheumatism, tuberculosis, lupus, scarlet fever, measles, influenza, beriberi, pleurisy). This pathology rarely occurs alone. When effusion in the serous membrane accumulates excess fluid, formed of a fibrous stricture, and the difficult work of the heart.

Pericarditis can be acute, chronic, dry and exudative (exudative).

Causes of pericarditis

The etiology of pericarditis has been insufficiently studied, but mainly to the reasons include a wide range of viral infections.

Rarely, the disease can be caused a heart attack, exposure to malware infections, injuries to the chest or radiation for cancer. Inflammation of the pericardium can also occur in renal failure, tuberculosis, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, uremia, hemorrhagic diathesis. It is known that some medications also can cause this disease.

The symptoms of pericarditis

The symptoms of pericarditis vary depending on its type.

Clinical symptoms of dry pericarditis are a heart pain that spreads to the back or epigastric region. Typical of this type of disease is a "crunch of snow" when listening to the heart. This noise is caused by friction of the pericardium: fibrin (high molecular weight protein) is deposited on the inner surfaces of the sheets of the serous membrane of the heart.

Vyborny pericarditis has several subtypes: serous, hemorrhagic and purulent. Exudate – fluid released as a result of inflammation of the small blood vessels. When the effusion, the pressure increases in the pericardium, which complicates the work of the heart. Effusion always squeezes the surrounding tissue and organs. When pericarditis are compressed hollow vein that leads to stagnation of blood in the veins and liver, and this in turn provokes the development of ascites. Symptoms of exudative pericarditis are shortness of breath, pain in the right hypochondrium, enlargement of the liver; in patients with neck veins swell, the face becomes puffy, young adults may receive the bulge in the region of the heart. The pulse quickens, the heart tones are weak.

Characteristic clinical manifestations of acute pericarditis is chest pain, is much aggravated by deep breathing,cough, sudden movements. Patients have shortness of breath, increase of temperature; tests often show leukocytosis, increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Chronic pericarditis is most often passes without symptoms.

When pericarditis pericardium leaflets are fused, appear swelling in the legs, cyanosis, heart failure and ascites. The liver thickens and increases in size.

Pericarditis in children

In children, the disease develops usually after six years. The reason it may be tuberculosis, scarlet fever, septic foci, rheumatism or fever. Pericarditis begins acutely: the General condition of the child deteriorates, there is fever. The child is pale, he has shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain and a feeling of tightness in the heart area. In General, the symptoms of pericarditis in children the same as adults.

In most cases pericarditis is a dangerous disease and resolves on its own. Much more important to determine the cause of its development, preventing the transfer of disease into a more serious form.

The treatment of pericarditis

Pericarditis without complications often passes without treatment in a few weeks. Your doctor may prescribe the patient a pain medication that will reduce the discomfort and heartache.

In more severe forms of pericarditis recommended strict bed rest. The patient should always be in a comfortable position, as incorrect posture can increase the pain. Medical treatment is prescribed depending on the disease causing the pericarditis. Purulent pericarditis treated with antibiotics, rheumatic – drugs against rheumatism (corticosteroids, gamma globulin, anti-inflammatories). If the disease leads to a large accumulation of fluid and blood circulation, pericardium puncture for withdrawal of liquid. Compressing pericarditis treated surgically: part of the pericardium excised (pericardectomy).

The prognosis of pericarditis may depend on such factors as the duration and severity of the underlying disease and the amount accumulated in pericardial fluid. The most life-threatening is of a purulent pericarditis: it requires immediate hospitalization and treatment.

The diagnosis of pericarditis is carried out by listening, electrocardiogram, chest x-ray and echocardiogram.