- Pericardial disease refers to disorders involving the pericardium, the double-layered fibrous membrane that surrounds and protects the heart.
- Common types of pericardial disease include pericarditis, or inflammation of the pericardium, and pericardial tamponade, or the rapid accumulation of fluid in the pericardium that can compress the heart muscle.
- Long term pericardial disease can lead to heart failure.
- Chest pain that accompanies pericarditis may be worsened by lying down, coughing, breathing deeply, and sometimes by swallowing. Sitting up and leaning forward often reduces the pain.
Both chronic and acute pericarditis can be life threatening. Therefore, if a person experiences any of the symptoms associated with pericardial disease, he or she should seek immediate medical attention.
In cardiac tamponade, fluid builds up in the pericardium.