Pericarditis is a condition of danger in any one or all of the following ways: 1, as a focus of infection; 2, as a cause of mechanical or reflex disturbance of the heart action; 3, as a starting point for a spreading inflammatory lesion.
As a focus of infection its danger is greater than is that of pleurisy or possibly even of peritonitis. The exudations of the pericardium are habitually more hemorrhagic or purulent than are those of the pleura in similar or the same infection and the clinical indications of general infection are also significant of a more virulent process.
The mechanical dangers are usually of little consequence, and, as has been found in the case of endocarditis, wider knowledge gives evidence that the circulatory disturbances of pericarditis are occasioned by changes in the heart muscle to a much greater extent than by mechanical or reflex disorders of the
STENGEL A. THE ROLE OF THE MYOCARDIUM IN PERICARDITIS. JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(24):1577–1578. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.62470500005002
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