Author Affiliation: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program, Saint Vincent Hospital, Worcester.
Contempo Updates Section Editor: Sarah Pressman
Lovinger, MD, Fishbein Fellow.
Contemporary understanding of acute pericarditis rests on 3 main considerations1: (1) pericarditis occurs in every category of disease,
common and exotic (the spectrum is so broad that with every new case, the
clinician should devise an appropriate differential diagnosis)
(Box),2 (2) to avoid therapeutic mishaps, pericarditis must
not be mistaken for other syndromes,3 and (3)
the etiological and clinical spectra of acute pericarditis change frequently
and some classic assumptions and descriptions, perpetuated in some publications,
are outdated (Table 1).4- 9 Except
immunocompromised individuals, especially in patients with acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome, there has been a sharp decline in infectious pericarditis.10 Tuberculous pericarditis has declined markedly in
Spodick DH. Acute PericarditisCurrent Concepts and Practice. JAMA. 2003;289(9):1150-1153. doi:10.1001/jama.289.9.1150