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Pericarditis - bacterial
Alternative namesPurulent pericarditis
Bacterial pericarditis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the sac that surrounds the heart (pericardium), caused by a bacterial infection.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Bacterial infections are one cause of pericarditis . Since the advent of antibiotics, bacterial pericarditis has become relatively rare.
It most often occurs in men between the ages of 20 and 50, usually after some type of respiratory infection. It can also occur after skin or oral infections that produce bacteremia (bacterial infection of the blood) and after heart surgery.
The bacterial infection causes inflammation of the pericardium. Pain occurs as a result of the inflamed pericardium rubbing against the heart. Fluid may accumulate in the pericardial sac.
The most common organisms which cause this condition are staphylococci, streptococci, pneumococci, hemophilus influenza (also called H.flu), and meningococci.
Signs and tests
When listening to the heart through a stethoscope, the health care provider may be able to hear a pericardial rubbing sound, and heart sounds may be faint or distant. There may be other signs of fluid in the pericardium ( pericardial effusion ).
This condition is diagnosed when the fluid around the pericardial sac is shown to be infected with bacteria. The following tests help doctors make this diagnosis
The goal of treatment is to cure the infection.
Expectations (prognosis)The disorder may be life threatening if untreated. The outcome is good if bacterial pericarditis is treated promptly. Most people recover completely with treatment.
Update Date: 11/11/2002Thippeswamy H. Murthy, M.D., Division of Cardiology, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT