Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bread and butter pericarditis

Inflammation is not a disease but a normal response of tissues to injury. Inflammation aims to remove, dilute, wall off, etc. injurious agents such as viruses, bacteria, toxins, etc. while setting the scene for healing to occur. With no inflammation, wounds would not heal.
The pericardium; peri, ‘around’, cardium ‘heart’ is a bag with two layers that surrounds the heart as well as the big blood vessels leaving and entering the heart. Normally, between the two layers of the pericardium is a little lubricating fluid which allows efficient heart contraction.
The pericardium can become inflamed – pericarditis – itis being the suffix denoting an inflammatory process. During pericarditis, the protein fibrin forms a mesh that acts as a scaffold to trap, remove, wall off, etc. the injurious agent. When the heart is seen after death (autopsy) in a person who had fibrinous pericarditis the fibrin over the pericardium looks like bread and butter – bread and butter pericarditis.
Cohen MB. Cross your heart: Some historical comments about fibrinous pericarditis. Hum Pathol, 2004, 35(2):147-9. Go to reference

Bread and butter pericarditis, heart

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