Diseases of the Pericardium

  • Marabel D. SchneiderEmail author
  • J. Franklin Richeson


The pericardium is the fibroelastic sac that encases the heart separating it from the surrounding structures in the mediastinum. It is composed of an outer fibrous pericardium and an inner two-layer serous pericardium consisting of the visceral (epipericardium) that is adherent to the myocardium and then layers back on itself forming the parietal layer that lines the outer fibrous sac. The visceral and parietal layers are separated by a potential space that contains <50 mL of a lubricating plasma filtrate. The pericardium helps maintain positioning of the heart within the thoracic cavity and provides a barrier against infection and inflammation. Diseases of the pericardium are relatively common with varied clinical symptoms and features that can result from localized disease or be a manifestation of system illness.


Pericardial disease Pericardium Pericarditis Pericardial rub Effusion Tamponade Constriction Electrical alternans 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiovascular MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.University of Rochester Medical Center/CardiologyRochesterUSA

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