Heart and Blood Conditions


  • Schedule an appointment +

    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.
    • How to schedule

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

  • Find a doctor +

  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

What is pericarditis?

The heart is covered by a thin, sac-like membrane called the pericardium. Pericarditis (pronounced pear-i-car-DIE-tis) is a condition where this membrane becomes irritated (inflamed).

The pericardium has 2 layers: an inner layer and an outer layer. A small amount of fluid normally exists between the 2 layers. When the pericardium becomes inflamed, extra fluid is produced.

If a large amount of fluid builds up, the extra fluid can compress the heart and make it less able to pump. This is called cardiac tamponade (pronounced tam-pah-NAID). This is dangerous and can make the blood pressure drop too low.

Pericarditis in Children

Most of the time, pericarditis results from a viral infection.

In children, pericarditis may happen after heart surgery — not because of an infection, but because their surgeon had to cut through their pericardium to operate on their heart.

Though less common, pericarditis may also be caused by diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis, or by drugs or radiation.

Pericarditis at Seattle Children’s

Our heart team has treated many children with pericarditis. We have years of experience with the treatment these patients may require.

When you come to Seattle Children’s, a team of people will take care of your child. Along with your child’s heart doctor (cardiologist), you are connected with nurses, child life specialists, social workers and others, if their expertise is needed. We work together to meet all of your child’s health needs and help your family through this experience.

Seattle Children’s has been treating children since 1907. Our team members are trained in their fields and in meeting the unique needs of children. For example, the doctors who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. This means they have extra years of training in how to take care of kids. Our child life specialists know how to help children understand their illnesses and treatments in ways that make sense for their age.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.