The pericardium is the protective covering of the heart and inflammation of this structure is pericarditis. The most common symptom is chest pain which is sudden, very sharp and stabbing, especially when the patient is lying down. Pericarditis may be caused by a virus, a bacteria or a fungus. It is rarely diagnosed since chest pain is often mistaken for another condition. There are three types of pericarditis: acute, recurring and chronic.
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