Echocardiography in the diagnosis and management of pericardial disease

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This review covers the role of echocardiography in the diagnosis and management of the main pericardial disorders. The sensitivity of echocardiography in detecting pericardial fluid is very high and this technique allows the detection of effusion as well as the definition of the size of effusion (small, moderate and severe). The evaluation of the pericardial sac should be carefully performed through all the echocardiographic windows, differentiating diffuse from loculated (regional) effusions. Several echocardiographic and Doppler signs allow an accurate diagnosis of cardiac tamponade. The role of echocardiography is extremely important in atypical clinical presentation such as in patients in the postoperative period after cardiac surgery. Moreover, drainage of the effusion is mandatory in the presence of cardiac tamponade and in this regard echo-guided pericardiocentesis is the gold-standard method. Finally this review covers the echocardiographic diagnosis of pericardial cysts and masses and constrictive pericarditis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-544
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Constrictive pericarditis
  • Echocardiography
  • Pericardial effusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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