Medical Definition of Effusion, pericardial

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Effusion, pericardial: Too much fluid within the fibrous sac (pericardium) that surrounds the heart. The inner surface of the pericardium is lined by a layer of flat cells (mesothelial cells) that normally secrete a small amount of fluid, which acts as a lubricant to allow normal heart movement within the chest. A pericardial effusion involves the presence of an excessive amount of pericardial fluid, a pale yellow serous fluid, within the pericardium.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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