fibrous pericardium, but inside this is another bag formed of a tough, smooth membrane, which lines the fibrous bag and is reflected on to the heart. This second bag is the serous pericardium and it permits of the heart working without friction. Inflammation of the serous pericardium is called pericarditis. The surface of the membrane becomes roughened so that a scraping or shuffling sound, caused by the movement of the two roughened surfaces over each other and synchronous with the movements of the heart, is audible on listening over the organ. There may also be pain and a rise of temperature.
The process may not stop short here, but go on to the effusion of fluid into the serous bag, and this may seriously interfere with the heart’s action, causing dyspnea.
The most frequent cause of pericarditis is acute rheumatism, but it may occur in other infectious fevers, from tuberculous infection or from other causes. The causative disease must be treated and counter-irritation applied over the heart. Sometimes fluid should be drawn oft by tapping. Parts of the two surfaces of the membrane may remain stuck together, such being called pericardial adhesions, and may hamper die heart’s action, leading to hypertrophy. See: Heart..
Application and treatment:
Direct electrode pad applications to the heart area are not recommended for heart patients. There is much greater safety in water pan applications, even to the hands, with equal results, in most cases. If output is kept very low, that is, below the point where current can be felt, is generally okay, but even this may be risky if any sort of muscular heart weakness exists.