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April 1, 1950


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine and of Cardiovascular Research, Michael Reese Hospital.

JAMA. 1950;142(13):973-975. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910310017005

The clinical features of acute nonspecific pericarditis, an inflammatory condition of the pericardium, have been described by Burchell,1 Logue and Wendkos,2 Talmadge,3 Wolff4 and Barnes and Burchell.5 Briefly, the condition is usually preceded by an upper respiratory infection or sore throat, but there are no evidences of active rheumatic infection in the joints or heart. Similarly, other causes for pericarditis, such as tuberculosis, myocardial infarction and uremia, are absent.

The onset is generally abrupt with fever, malaise and substernal or precordial pain which is worse on deep breathing, movement of the trunk or swallowing. Partial relief of pain is attained by assumption of the sitting posture or by leaning forward. A pericardial friction rub is heard early, and the classic electrocardiographic patterns of acute diffuse pericarditis appear in most instances. Pericardial effusion may develop and may require paracentesis, but no permanent cardiac damage or harmful