Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Pericardial Effusion
Pericardial effusion is a buildup of fluid in the space between the
heart and the sac around the heart (pericardium).
Pericardial effusion can be caused by pericarditis, an inflammation
of the pericardium. Pericarditis may be caused by heart attack, kidney failure,
bacterial or viral infection, or cancer treatment.
Pericarditis can also cause chest pain and, in rare cases, increased
pressure on the heart (cardiac tamponade).
If the fluid buildup is gradual and the
heart is tolerating the increased fluid around it, treatment of the underlying
cause may be tried first. In some cases, the fluid might need to be drained.
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.