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Pericardial Disorders

The pericardium is a membrane, or sac, that surrounds your heart. It holds the heart in place and helps it work properly. Problems with the pericardium include:

  • Pericarditis - an inflammation of the sac. It can be from a virus or other infection, a heart attack, heart surgery, other medical conditions, injuries, and certain medicines.
  • Pericardial effusion - the buildup of fluid in the sac
  • Cardiac tamponade - a serious problem in which buildup of fluid in the sac causes problems with the function of the heart

Symptoms of pericardial problems include chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. Fever is a common symptom of acute pericarditis. Your doctor may use a physical exam, imaging tests, and heart tests to make a diagnosis. Treatment depends on the cause.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Health Checkup

Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better. Which exams and screenings you need depends on your age, health and family history, and lifestyle choices such as what you eat, how active you are, and whether you smoke.

To make the most of your next check-up, here are some things to do before you go:

  • Review your family medical history
  • Find out if you are due for any general screenings or vaccinations
  • Write down a list of issues and questions to take with you

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