Causes of Pericarditis


The pericardium rarely becomes inflamed on its own. As a rule, pericardial inflammation is a complication or manifestation of some other disease.

The list of such diseases includes:

    • Rheumatism – it’s one of the main causes of pericarditis. Rheumatism is a disease of the connective tissues with predominant involvement of the heart layers. In the case of rheumatism, pericarditis is usually accompanied with involvement of other heart layers – endocardium and myocardium.

pericarditis viral and bacterial infections.


  • Viral infections – influenza, measles;
  • Bacterial infections – tuberculosis (along with rheumatisms, it’s one of the main causes of pericarditis), scarlet fever, quinsy;
  • Sepsis;
  • Fungal infections or parasitic invasions.

Pathogenic microorganisms may get into the pericardium together with the blood or lymph. Sometimes inflammatory process may get into the pericardium from the organs adjacent to the heart (pneumonia, pleurisy, endocarditis (with lymph and blood)).

  • Allergic processes in the body – drug allergy, serum sickness.
  • Chest injuries – mechanical trauma caused by heart injuries, heart surgery, blows in the region of the heart.
  • Intoxications and poisonings by various toxins, gases and vapors.
  • Connective tissue diseases – rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Pericarditis may be a complication of myocardial infarction, myocarditis, endocarditis.
  • Malignant tumors – in the case of cancer, cancer cells get into the pericardium and pericardial cavity through the bloodstream.
  • Metabolic diseases – in the case of uremia or pout, underoxidized metabolic products left in the body have toxic effect on the pericardium.
  • Malformations of the pericardium, for example, cysts.
  • Edema and circulatory disorders – these conditions may lead to the accumulation of fluid and blood in the pericardial cavity.

Next chapter: Symptoms of pericarditis

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