Andrew Mootham
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 9, Iss. 4, 07 Apr 2017, pp 172 - 176

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the two layers of the thin, sac-like membrane
that surrounds the heart. This membrane is called the pericardium, so the term
pericarditis means inflammation of the pericardium. The causes of pericarditis
are thought to be viral, fungal or bacterial in nature. Pericarditis may also
present as a result of a myocardial infarction (MI). The presenting signs and
symptoms of pericarditis are described as a chest pain which may radiate to the
arm and jaw, a pericardial friction rub (a scratching or creaking sound produced
by the layers of the pericardium rubbing over one another) on auscultation of
heart sounds. The diagnosis of straight forward pericarditis may be within the
scope of practice of the Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP). It would be possible
for the ECP to reach a working diagnosis and even to initiate a treatment
regime, which would predominantly consist of providing analgesia to make the
patient more comfortable.

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