The pericardium is the bag that holds the heart inside. Its made of two bags, one inside the other. The pericardium allows the heart to move freely, shields it from other organs and protects it from infections that can occur in the lungs. The pericardium is made out of a partially elastic tissue that is similar to cartilage, the rubbery material in our joints and knees. There is a very small amount of fluid between the two bags that make up the pericardium. This fluid is there to allow the two bags to slide against one another freely. The pericardium can get inflamed due to a variety of conditions that include viral infections and autoimmune disorders like Lupus and Scleroderma. If it gets inflamed the pericardium can cause chest pain and shortness of breath. An inflamed pericardium can also accumulate fluid between its two bags, a condition called a pericardial effusion.
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