Echocardiographic evaluation of the pericardium
- Elyse Foster, MD
Elyse Foster, MD
- Professor of Clinical Medicine
- University of California, San Francisco
Echocardiography is the initial method of choice for evaluating most pericardial diseases, given its ability to provide both anatomic and physiologic/hemodynamic information. When competently performed in patients with good acoustic windows, echocardiography accurately detects pericardial effusions and provides clinically relevant information about their size and hemodynamic importance. The technique is less reliable than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) in detecting pericardial thickening/constriction and calcification as well as small loculated effusions, but can still be extremely useful in these conditions. However, MRI is the preferred imaging modality for identifying pericardial inflammation/pericarditis.
A 2003 task force of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) gave class I recommendations for the following uses of echocardiography in known or suspected pericardial disease (table 1) :
●Patients with suspected pericardial disease, including effusion, constrictive pericarditis, or effusive-constrictive pericarditis.
●Patients with suspected bleeding into the pericardial space (eg, trauma, perforation).
●Follow-up study to evaluate recurrence of effusion following treatment or to diagnose early constrictive pericarditis. Repeat studies may be goal directed to answer a specific clinical question.To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- NORMAL PERICARDIUM
- Normal anatomy
- Echocardiographic imaging
- CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH PERICARDIAL PATHOLOGY
- Acute pericarditis
- Pericardial effusion
- Loculated effusion and other post operative sequelae
- Differentiating between pleural and pericardial effusions
- Pericardial thickening and constriction
- Pericardial constriction
- Tumors of the pericardium
- Absence of the pericardium
- - Surgical removal
- - Congenital absence of the pericardium
- Pericardial cyst
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS