Table Of Contents

What Causes Pericardial Effusions?

Mesothelioma tumors growing on the heart lining (pericardium) may cause pericardial effusion.

Pericardial effusion is a common symptom of pericardial mesothelioma. It is a rare cancer that forms in the lining of the heart.

This lining, known as the pericardium, contains two layers. A small amount of fluid exists between these layers. It lubricates the lining and offers protection around the heart.

What Are the Symptoms of Pericardial Effusions?

Not everyone with pericardial effusion will experience symptoms.

Excess fluid can increase pressure on the heart, a condition called cardiac tamponade. This prevents the chambers from filling. Poor circulation and inadequate oxygen supply result.

Treatment for pericardial effusion involves minor or major surgical procedures.

Pericardial Effusion Treatment

Procedures that treat this condition drain the fluid or remove the lining.


pericardiocentesis is a minor surgical procedure. It drains fluid from around the heart.

There is a chance the fluid could return after a pericardiocentesis. A pericardiectomy to prevent recurrence helps patients with recurring pericardial effusion.


pericardiectomy is a surgery that removes part or all the heart lining. It treats pericardial effusion, inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis) and pericardial mesothelioma. A pericardial window is another term for the procedure.

The surgery prevents fluid from accumulating again. Recovery in the hospital takes one to two weeks.

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