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Acute pericarditis: Clinical presentation and diagnostic evaluation

Massimo Imazio, MD, FESC
Section Editor
Martin M LeWinter, MD
Deputy Editor
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC


The pericardium is a fibroelastic sac made up of visceral and parietal layers separated by a (potential) space, the pericardial cavity. In healthy individuals, the pericardial cavity contains 15 to 50 mL of an ultrafiltrate of plasma.  

Diseases of the pericardium present clinically in one of several ways [1]:

Acute and recurrent pericarditis

Pericardial effusion without major hemodynamic compromise

Cardiac tamponade


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Literature review current through: Jun 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 28, 2017.
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