Sunday, April 17, 2011

UNDERSTANDING PERICARDITIS

Pericarditis is also known as the inflammation of the pericardium. 
In acute pericarditis, the pericardium can be fibrous or effusive with purulent, serous, or hemorrhagic exudates. In chronic pericarditis, it is seen as dense, thick, and fibrous pericardium.

How it happens?

  • Bacteria or other substances damage pericardial tissue 
  • Bradykinins, histamines, prostaglandins, and serotonin are released into the surrounding tissue, thus commencing the inflammatory process  
  • Inflamed pericardial layers rub against each other causing friction
  • Histamines and other chemical mediators dilate vessels and increase vessel permeability
  • Vessel walls leak fluids and protein into tissue causing extracellular edema 
  • Macrophages starts to phagocytise invading bacteria joined by neutrophils and monocytes 
  • Area fills with exudates composed of necrotic tissue and dead and dying bacteria, neutrophils, and macrophages
  • Pericardial effusion develops if fluid accumulates in pericardial cavity.

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