Acute pericarditis can be caused by a viral infection but is often idiopathic, meaning it has no identifiable cause. The cause of chronic pericarditis is also often idiopathic, but it has been associated with the same conditions that cause acute pericarditis, which include:
- Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections,
- Autoimmune disorders,
- Cancer, especially Hodgkin's disease, and radiation treatment of cancer,
- Kidney failure,
- Side effects from drugs,
- Heart attack, and
- Heart surgery.
Although cardiac tamponade can result from any cause of pericarditis, its principal causes are:
- Uremia, or kidney failure
- Bleeding into the pericardium because of surgery or injury, and
- Bleeding caused by anticoagulants in patients with acute pericarditis.