The pericardium is the sac which lines the outside of the heart. It is normal for the pericardium to contain a small amount of lubricating fluid. A more significant collection of fluid is known as a ‘pericardial effusion’, this can be a normal finding, but is occasionally a sign of a multi-system disease, such as an autoimmune condition. A large pericardial effusion will require further investigation and, if it is restricting the filling of the heart, will require drainage by a specialist.

Very rarely, echo scans find abnormal masses in the pericardium. If the mass is suspicious for a tumour, we will refer you urgently for specialist investigation.


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