Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium – the sac or membrane that surrounds the heart. It can be acute or sudden. Some causes of acute pericarditis include infections, rheumatic arthritis, systemic lupus, heart attack, serious chest injury or using certain medications that suppress the immune system. Chronic pericarditis may be caused by a long term infection. Symptoms include fever, nausea, shortness of breath, and chest pain that may be severe and sharp, or aching and overwhelming. Treatment options include treating the underlying causes, drugs such as analgesics and anti-inflammatories, surgery, making lifestyle changes, nutrition therapy, herbal therapy, and homoeopathy.