Pericardial inflammation is a familiar but uncommon cause of chest pain. The classic triad of retrosternal chest pain, pericardial friction rub, and serial ECG changes facilitates diagnosis of pericarditis, the etiology most often being idiopathic in nature. Because older adults more frequently contend with multiple conditions that may require cardiovascular surgical intervention, receive numerous medications, or result in an immunocompromised state, other important causes of pericarditis need to b e considered. This article considers pericarditis in the older population and emphasizes diagnosis and management of this condition. Situations common to this age group that require special attention to the appropriate treatment are also discussed.
Key words: pericarditis, pericardium, heart, inflammation, tamponade.
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