Pericarditis - after heart attack

Dressler syndrome; Post-MI pericarditis; Post-cardiac injury syndrome; Postcardiotomy pericarditis

Pericarditis is inflammation and swelling of the covering of the heart (pericardium). It can occur in the days or weeks following a heart attack.

Acute MI

A heart attack or acute myocardial infarction (MI) occurs when one of the arteries that supplies the heart muscle becomes blocked. Blockage may be caused by spasm of the artery or by atherosclerosis with acute clot formation. The blockage results in damaged tissue and a permanent loss of contraction of this portion of the heart muscle.

Pericardium

The pericardium is a thin double-layered sac which encloses the heart. Fluid is contained within the layers and lubricates the constantly rubbing surfaces.

Post-MI pericarditis

Post-MI pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium (the sac-like covering of the heart). Any previous injury to the heart muscle can cause pericarditis. Incidences of pericarditis are associated with Dressler's syndrome, after a heart attack, open heart surgery, and may also follow stab wounds to the heart or blunt chest trauma. Pain occurs when the inflamed pericardium rubs on the heart.

Pericardium

The pericardial sac surrounds and protects the heart within the chest cavity.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional