Difference Between Pericarditis and Myocardial Infarction

Chest discomfort, palpitations, and difficulty breathing are symptoms shared by pericarditis and myocardial infarction. Myocardial infarction occurs when blood supply to the heart muscle is stopped, resulting in a lack of oxygen in one or more sections of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium. The following topics expand upon the distinctions between them.

What is Pericarditis?

The inflammation of any of the layers of the thin tissue sac (the pericardium) around the heart is known as pericarditis (from the Greek peri-, meaning "around," and kardia, meaning "heart," and-itis, meaning "inflammation").

Symptoms − Pain in the center or left of the chest, palpitations of the heart, difficulty breathing, weariness, swelling of the abdomen and legs, nausea, and a mild temperature are all symptoms.

Causes − As the most common form of pericarditis, viral infection can also be caused by autoimmune disorders (especially in cases of recurrent pericarditis), myocardial infarction, cancer, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, kidney failure, and drug side effects (such as those caused by warfarin and heparin).

Treatment − Some people get well from pericarditis in around two to four weeks. Antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), rest from vigorous activity, and surgery are all potential therapies for pericarditis.

What is Myocardial Infarction?

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction ("myo" means muscle, "cardial" refers to the heart, and "infarction" denotes tissue death due to lack of blood supply), happens when oxygen-rich blood cannot reach a portion of the heart muscle.

Symptoms − Myocardial infarction symptoms include those listed below −

  • Discomfort (i.e., pressure, squeezing, or heaviness) or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone

  • Discomfort which goes into the jaw, throat, arm, or back

  • A feeling of fullness, choking, or indigestion

  • Upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness, or sweating

  • Fatigue, shortness of breath, or anxiety

  • Palpitations or uneven heartbeat

Silent heart attacks occur in certain people (often those with diabetes), and the sufferers are unaware that anything is wrong.

Causes and Risk Factors − The accumulation of plaque (comprised of cholesterol, deposits, and other substances) in the arteries is responsible for the impeded blood flow. A blood clot forms rapidly once a plaque ruptures, and this clot is the true cause of myocardial infarction. If the heart's oxygen and blood supply are cut off, irreversible damage will occur within 30 minutes.

Those who have a family history of cardiovascular disease, type 1 diabetes, or advanced age increase their risk, as do those who inherit high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, or high triglyceride levels. Smokers, alcoholics, the inactive, those with type 2 diabetes, and those who have recently developed hypertension are among the most at-risk categories of persons who have developed risk factors over time.

Treatment − Treatment for myocardial infarction begins in the ambulance or the emergency department since it is a medical emergency. Aspirin and other antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications are used to reduce the severity of heart damage. Cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, and stent replacement are all methods that can be used to unblock the arteries.

Beta-blockers, nitrates, blood thinners, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and statins are some of the medications used beyond the critical period. Bypass surgery is an option for patients who need to get their hearts' blood flowing again. To maintain a regular heartbeat, pacemakers are implanted in some individuals

Differences between Pericarditis and Myocardial Infarction

The following table highlights the major differences between Pericarditis and Myocardial Infarction −



Myocardial Infarction


Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium, a small sac of tissue that covers and protects the heart.

Myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, happens when oxygen-rich blood stops flowing to part (or all) of the heart muscle.


Pericarditis is characterized by severe chest discomfort (usually in the middle or to the left), irregular heartbeats, difficulty breathing, weakness, swelling in the abdomen and legs, nausea, and a low temperature.

Feelings of fullness, choking, or indigestion; nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or sweating − weakness, shortness of breath, anxiety, palpitations, or an irregular heartbeat are some of the symptoms. However, "silent heart attacks" occur in which the victim has no warning signs.


Myocardial infarction, malignancy, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, renal failure, and pharmacological side effects are among the causes of pericarditis.The most frequent cause is a viral infection.

Plaque (composed of cholesterol, deposits, and other things) in the arteries blocks blood flow.Myocardial infarction is caused by a blood clot that forms rapidly after the rupture of atherosclerotic plaque.


In this article, we explained in detail the various differences between Pericarditis and Myocardial Infarction.

Updated on: 27-Jan-2023


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