Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, two thin layers of leathery tissue that surrounds the heart.

A small amount of fluid keeps usually separates these two layers. Pericarditis can be acute, meaning it happens suddenly and typically doesn’t last long, or chronic, meaning it develops over time and may take longer to treat. Both types of pericarditis can disrupt your heart’s normal rhythm or function and possibly, though rarely, lead to death. Pericarditis affects people of all ages, but men 20 to 50 years old are more likely to develop it than others.

A common symptom of pericarditis is chest pain, caused by the sac’s sensitive layers becoming inflamed. This pain can be severe, and can feel like a heart attack. It may feel like pain from a heart attack.

The cause of pericarditis is often unknown, though viral infections are a common cause. Pericarditis can be attributed to other infections, including  bacterial, fungal, and others. infections. Other possible causes are Heart attack and heart surgery, other medical conditions, injuries and medicines. Pericarditis often occurs after a respiratory infection.

Chronic, or recurring pericarditis is usually the result of autoimmune disorders such as lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis, disorders in which the body’s immune system makes antibodies that mistakenly attack the body’s tissues or cells.

Most of the time, pericarditis is mild and clears up on its own with rest or simple treatment. Rarely, pericarditis leads to abnormalities of the heart’s rhythm and function, leading to significant disability and even death. Sometimes, to prevent complications, more intense anti inflammatory medicine treatment or rarely, surgery is needed. Recovery from pericarditis may take a few days to weeks or even months. Among those treated for acute pericarditis, 15 to 30 percent may get it again, with a small number eventually developing chronic pericarditis.