What causes infection around the heart?
Inflammation and infection of the pericardial sac surrounding the heart is called the pericarditis .
Pericardium is two thin layers of sac like tissue that surrounds the heart, holds it in place and helps it to work. A minimal amount of fluid keeps the layers separate so that there is no friction between them.
During inflammation or infection, fluid accumulates between the two layers which may cause discomfort.
The cause of pericarditis is often unknown, though viral infections are a common cause. Pericarditis often occurs after a respiratory infection.
Chronic or recurrent pericarditis is usually the result of autoimmune disorders such as lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis.