The core is enveloped by the pericardium, which is composed of two layers separated by a virtual cavity filled with liquid. The inner layer is attached to the myocardium; the outer leaflet, meanwhile, is much looser.
The pericardium has many functions: it protects the heart and supports so that vital structures of the chest (sternum, blood vessels, etc.) still retain the same position relative to the heart.
The pericardium allows expansion and contraction of the heart, eg. if efforts (heartbeat important). It also helps to adjust the amount of blood expelled from the right and left ventricles.
Inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis) is a relatively rare heart disease, whose diagnosis has increased in recent years, however. This increase in diagnosed cases is explained partly by more accurate diagnostic techniques and better, and secondly by the increase in coronary heart disease (diseases affecting the coronary arteries).
Pericarditis can greatly hinder the cardiocirculatory function and is a medical emergency.
Often the causes are unknown. However, pericarditis usually follows an infection or underlying disease.
Symptoms vary depending on the form of pericarditis.
Chest pain dependent respiration (increased supine and cough): pain when breathing, which cease at the end. While sitting with the torso bent forward, the symptoms are generally mitigated.
In case of mild exudative pericarditis, the symptoms are moderate:
Treatment depends on the / disease (s) underlying (s). General measures to mitigate the symptoms and sequelae, such as shutdown of pericardial effusion, should be taken. In acute pericarditis, absolute rest in bed and taking antiphlogistic have a beneficial effect generally fast.
Depending on the cause of the disease, treatment is based on antibioques in combination with cortisone. Treatment of underlying diseases: immunosuppressive drugs in cases of autoimmune disease, treating a disorder of renal function, hypothyroidism, or cancer treatment. Analgesics can be used to fight against the chest pain.
To prevent the disease becomes chronic, the prescribed treatment must always be followed (duration, dosage).
Puncture of the pericardium to drain the effusion. Only in extreme cases of chronic recurrent effusions, the pericardium should be a surgical fenestration, to permit flow of fluid inflammatory. In case of calcific pericarditis (scarring of the pericardium), or scars, if any, hardened and thickened pericardium should be resected surgically.
If appropriate treatment, acute pericarditis cured in most cases. Untreated, pericarditis may impair cardiac function and cause cardiovascular collapse which may be fatal.
Pericarditis, who re-offend due to chronic diseases, can cause chronic calcific pericarditis. In case of chronic pericarditis and calcific pericarditis, myocardial lesions and / or permanent kidney damage or liver may occur.