What are the Causes of Malignant Pericardial Effusions

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 13, 2017
Quick Bites

  • Excess fluid builds around the heart
  • Unhealthy or injured pericardium leads to effusions
  • Breathlessness or coughing can be symptoms

What are Malignant Pericardial Effusions?

Malignant pericardial effusions is a condition when too much fluid builds up around the heart. A double-layered, sac-like structure surrounds the heart which is called pericardium. The space between the layers contains a fluid in a very small quantity.

But, when the pericardium becomes unhealthy or injured, it results into pericardial effusion. A fluid can also build up surrounding the heart without inflammation. At times the pericardial effusion can be caused by the accumulation of blood resulting from a surgical procedure or injury.

What are the Symptoms of Malignant Pericardial Effusions?

The pericardial effusions can be significant yet there can be no signs and symptoms, especially when the fluid has increased slowly.

But, when the symptoms do occur they may include:

  • Breathlessness or difficulty breathing
  • Discomfort in breathing while lying down
  • Pain in chest, usually behind breastbone or on the left side of the chest that aggravates while breathing
  • Cough
  • Low-grade fever
  • Rapid heart rate 

What are the Causes?

When inflammation occurs in the pericardium caused by an injury, disease or inflammatory disorder, pericardial effusion takes place.

The condition may also occur when the flow of pericardial fluids is blocked or when blood accumulates within the pericardium. The clarity on how diseases play a role in the pericardial effusion cannot be determined though.

Image source: Getty

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