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Glossary of Terms

Pericarditis

An inflammation or infection of the pericardium. The inflammation can sometimes occur after open heart surgery, and can, in rare cases, lead to constriction of the heart. This type of pericarditis is referred to as post pump pericarditis. Post pump pericarditis can cause some mild chest discomfort and low grade fever. It is diagnosed by clinical symptoms and ECG changes. Post pump pericarditis is treated with anti-inflammatory agents and, in severe cases, with steroids. The cause of post pump pericarditis is not known, but is thought to occur as a consequence of the surgical manipulation of the pericardium and the heart during heart surgery. Other causes of pericarditis include viral and bacterial infections.

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