Category:Pericardial Pathology

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Pericardial Pathology

The heart is invested in a pericardial sac with both visceral and parietal components. The visceral layer is closely adherent to the heart wall. The space within the pericardium is small and contains approximately 1-5ml serous fluid. This allows smooth movement of the heart within the pericardium during normal systole and diastole.
The pericardial sac is thin, fibrous and inelastic so prevents and significant distension. This causes a constrictive effect when fluid accumulates within the sac.

Pericardial disease accounts for only 1% of all clinically significant cardiac disease in the dog and cat, however it a frequently overlooked cause of right heart failure. Pericardial disease which is clinically significant is rare in the cat.

The most common congenital abnormality of the pericardium is Peritoneo-pericardial diaphragmatic hernia.

Other congenital abnormalities of the pericardial sac include:

  • Pericardial cysts.
  • Partial or complete absence of the paricardial sac.