What are the possible underlying causes of acute pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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The underlying cause of pericarditis may be infectious or noninfectious. [1] In developed nations, although pericarditis is predominantly referred to as idiopathic, the most frequent causes are autoreactive/lymphocytic, malignant, and infectious. [6]

A retrospective study (2004-2014) that evaluated the etiology of acute pericarditis in 32 children found that the most common cause was infectious (34%), followed by inflammatory disorders (28%). [8] Staphylococcus aureus was the responsible agent in four of five cases of purulent pericarditis; all five patients also had concurrent infection of the soft tissue, bone, lung, or other. Other infectious agents included Histoplasma capsulatum, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, influenza A, and Enterovirus. [8]

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