Pericarditis may be caused by a viral infection or heart attack. In many cases, the cause is unknown.
The most common symptom is sharp, stabbing chest pain that may travel to the left shoulder and neck. Pericarditis usually begins suddenly but doesn't last long.
Most cases are mild and usually improve on their own. Treatment for more-severe cases may include medications and, rarely, surgery.
Last Updated Apr 25, 2018