Non traumatic chest pain – pericarditis

Andrew Mootham
Sunday, April 2, 2017

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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