Pericarditis is a condition in which the pericardium becomes too thick and stiff. There are different types of pericarditis:
The fibrous pericardium becomes thickened and inelastic, preventing the ventricles from expanding and accepting enough blood. The most prominent symptom of acute pericarditis is pain in the chest which increases under heavy breathing and certain positions of the body.Chronic Pericarditis
Chronic pericarditis is acute pericarditis occurring on a regular basis. The recurring inflammation can cause serious problems for the patient such as build up of blood in the veins and an enlargement of the liver. Chronic pericarditis can be treated with surgery which removes some of the thickened fibrous layer of the sac.
Pericardial effusion is an effect which often accompanies pericarditis. In this condition the fluid collection between the inner and outer serous layers of the pericardium becomes too large. The excess fluid compresses the heart and interferes with the pumping action.