Pericardial effusion

Pericardial effusion is a collection of fluid around the heart in excess of the usual 15 to 50mls of pericardial fluid. 

It is often associated with pericarditis – 60% of cases of pericarditis are accompanied by a pericardial effusion. 

Causes include: 
  • Malignancy (especially lung, breast, leukaemia, lymphoma) 
  • Idiopathic 
  • Trauma 
  • Uraemia
  • Radiation
  • Postoperative 
  • Infection 
  • Connective tissue disease 
  • Hypothyroidism

  • Depends on aetiology 
  • Pericardiocentesis only if: 
    • Tamponade
    • Suspicion of purulent pericarditis 
    • Chronic large effusion

Complication: Cardiac tamponade


author profile image

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Secret collector of interesting anonymised ECGs. Fan of the Bath Photomarathon. Lover of cream teas. [Sarah Hudson] (Your Picture)