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Conditions We Treat: Pericarditis

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium, the double-layered membrane that surrounds the heart. Pericarditis caused by a viral infection often resolves itself, but if it is caused by a bacterial infection it can lead to fluid buildup between the layers. This is called pericardial effusion and may interfere with the heart's ability to function.

Pericarditis: What You Need to Know

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  • Acute pericarditis is sudden and short-term, often caused by an infection or by a number of underlying conditions, including some cardiac and autoimmune disorders.
  • Chronic pericarditis is the persistent recurrence of acute pericarditis, and can lead to scarring of the pericardium, difficulty breathing, fatigue and fluid retention.
  • The goal of treatment is to relieve the inflammation, sometimes by treating the underlying condition. In the case of excess fluid, your doctor may discuss pericardiocentesis — inserting a needle between the two layers to draw out the fluid.

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Why choose Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute for treatment of pericarditis?

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Our Specialty Centers

Our Interventional Cardiology Service helps patients manage pericardial diseases including pericarditis.

Learn more about the Interventional Cardiology Service.