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Pericarditis is a disorder caused by inflammation of the pericardium, the sac-like covering of the heart. Pericarditis can be caused by bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. It may also be a result of injury or trauma to the chest, esophagus, or heart. Pain occurs as a result of the inflamed pericardium rubbing against the heart.

Review Date 2/24/2016

Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.