Pericarditis - Causes

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Did an inflammatory disease or infection cause your pericarditis? What was the cause?

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What causes pericarditis?

Pericarditis is usually from unknown causes (idiopathic). The cause may often be viral infections. Causes of pericarditis include:


  • Viruses
  • Bacteria (like tuberculosis)
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)

Inflammatory diseases:

Diseases that can cause generalized inflammation in other places within the body can also cause inflammation of the pericardium. Some examples include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Scleroderma
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Metabolic illnesses:

  • Kidney failure and uremia
  • Hypothyroidism

Heart disease:

  • Heart attack can cause direct irritation and inflammation of the pericardial lining.
  • Dressler's syndrome describes inflammation caused by an immune response to heart tissue damage from heart attack, open heart surgery, or a trauma.

Other causes:

  • Tumors
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medications
Return to Pericarditis

See what others are saying

Comment from: DB60, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

Five weeks following lung surgery to remove a bacterial mass thought to be lung cancer (instead an embedded pneumonia), I developed severe chest pain radiating across my chest, into my neck and shoulders. My thoracic surgeon sent me to the ER and subsequently admitted under the care of a cardiologist. At this time, my Dr. Feels that this was caused by trauma from the lung surgery. After 3 days in the hospital, I was discharged with steroid treatment. It has now been 5 weeks (10 weeks since my lung surgery) and they have added Colcrys to the Prednisone to try and get this under control. It is getting discouraging since I have always been healthy, active, and in very good shape - play tennis, run, exercise regularly until now. Now I just want to breathe without pain.

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