Pericardial adhesions

Pericardial adhesions

Pericardial adhesions are fibrous bands that form between the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart, and other structures in the chest. These adhesions can limit the movement of the heart, which can cause symptoms and complications.


Following are the causes of pericardial adhesions:

  • Inflammation or injury to the pericardium, which can occur due to infections, trauma, surgery, or radiation therapy.
  • Idiopathic causes, which means the cause is unknown.
  • Chronic diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Blood clots or other foreign materials that become lodged in the pericardium.


You might experience these symptoms if you have pericardial adhesions:

  • Chest pain or discomfort, which may worsen with deep breathing or lying down.
  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or when lying down.
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fatigue or weakness.
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen.


The tests conducted to make the diagnosis include:

  • Physical examination to assess for signs of heart and lung problems, such as abnormal heart sounds or fluid in the lungs.
  • Echocardiogram uses sound waves to create images of the heart and can detect the presence of adhesions.
  • CT scan or MRI of the chest can provide detailed images of the heart and surrounding structures.
  • Pericardiocentesis is a procedure in which a needle is inserted into the pericardium to remove fluid and evaluate for signs of infection or inflammation.

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