Pericarditis: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management.

Current Infectious Disease Reports
Massimo Imazio


Pericarditis, the most common disease of the pericardium, may be isolated or a manifestation of a systemic disease. The etiology of pericarditis is varied and includes infectious (especially viral and tuberculosis) and noninfectious causes (autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, pericardial injury syndromes, and cancer [especially lung cancer, breast cancer, and lymphomas]). Most cases remain idiopathic with a conventional diagnostic evaluation. A targeted etiologic search should be directed to the most common cause on the basis of the patient's clinical background, epidemiologic issues, specific presentations, and high-risk features associated with specific etiologies or complications (fever higher than 38°C, subacute onset, large pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, lack of response to NSAIDs). The management of pericardial diseases is largely empiric because of the relative lack of randomized trials. NSAIDs are the mainstay of empiric anti-inflammatory therapy, with the possible addition of colchicine to prevent recurrences.


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