Pericardial effusion

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Pericardial effusion

  • This image shows some of the features of heart failure
  • 1 - Upper zone vascular prominence
  • 2 - Airspace shadowing (alveolar oedema)
  • 3 - Septal lines (interstitial oedema)
  • 4 - Pleural effusion
  • The heart is also enlarged and has a globular (rounded) appearance due to a pericardial effusion (fluid accumulation within the pericardial sac)

Post-surgical pericardial effusion

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Post-surgical pericardial effusion

  • This patient has had recent cardiac surgery
  • The heart is enlarged but there are no other signs of heart failure
  • Whenever the heart appears globular, it could be due to a pericardial effusion – the diagnosis can be confirmed using ultrasound (echocardiogram)

Malignant pericardial effusion

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Malignant pericardial effusion

  • Pericardial effusions may not be due to heart disease
  • This patient with metastatic disease (primary colon cancer) has an enlarged and globular-shaped heart due to a malignant pericardial effusion (fluid and cancerous cells within the pericardium)
  • There are also numerous small lung nodules (pulmonary metastases) and bilateral pleural effusions (malignant effusions)