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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.
April 2, 2013
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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