Pericardial effusion history and symptoms

Jump to: navigation, search

Pericardial effusion Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Pericardial effusion from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings


Chest X Ray

Echocardiography and Ultrasound

CT scan


Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies

Cardiac Catheterization


Medical Therapy



Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Pericardial Window

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Pericardial effusion history and symptoms On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides

Google Images

American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Pericardial effusion history and symptoms

All Images
Echo & Ultrasound
CT Images

Ongoing Trials at Clinical

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Pericardial effusion history and symptoms

CDC on Pericardial effusion history and symptoms

Pericardial effusion history and symptoms in the news

Blogs on Pericardial effusion history and symptoms

Directions to Hospitals Treating Type page name here

Risk calculators and risk factors for Pericardial effusion history and symptoms

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]


Pericardial effusion is a relatively common finding and sometimes the clinical picture of the patient leads directly to the cause for pericardial effusion.

History and Symptoms

  • Mild pericardial effusion is a relatively a common finding, especially in elderly women and they are usually asymptomatic.
  • When inflammation of the sac causes a pericardial effusion, the main symptom is chest pain.
    • It may get worse when you breathe deeply and better when you lean forward.

Common symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (if you have a virus)

Large, serious pericardial effusions, or smaller ones that develop quickly, may cause other symptoms that include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations (sensation that the heart is pounding or beating fast)
  • Light-headedness or passing out
  • Cool, clammy skin

A pericardial effusion with these symptoms is a medical emergency and may be life-threatening.

  • Chest pain, pressure symptoms occurs in patients with pericarditis. Other patients, without previous known diseases, seek medical attention because of dyspnea or nonspecific chest discomfort and the thoracic X-ray shows the presence of an enlarged cardiac silhouette with clear lungs.
  • Pericardial effusion is also present after a specific type of heart defect repair. An Atrial Septal Defect Secundum, or ASD, when repaired will most likely produce a pericardial effusion due to one of the methods of repair. One repair method of an ASD is to take a piece of the peridcardial tissue and use it as a patch for the hole in the atrial cavity.
  • Clinical manifestations of pericardial effusion depend on the rate of accumulation of fluid in the pericardial cavity. Rapid accumulation may cause elevated intrapericardial pressures with as little as 80 mL of fluid, while gradual accumulation of fluid can grow to 2 liters without symptoms.