In many cases, the cause of pericarditis (both acute and chronic) is unknown.
Viral infections are likely a common cause of pericarditis, although the virus may never be found. Pericarditis often occurs after respiratory infections. Bacterial, fungal, and other infections also can cause pericarditis.
Most cases of chronic, or recurring, pericarditis are thought to be the result of autoimmune disorders. Examples of such disorders include lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
With autoimmune disorders, the body's immune system makes antibodies (proteins) that mistakenly attack the body's tissues or cells.
Other possible causes of pericarditis are:
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans.
September 2, 2014
Gary H. Gibbons
Researcher Brings Medicine One Step Closer to Widely Available Cure for Sickle Cell Disease
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.