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JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Jun;3(6):650-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2010.04.009.

Multimodality imaging of pericardial diseases.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Pericardial disease is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease. Inflammatory diseases of the pericardium constitute a spectrum ranging from acute pericarditis to chronic constrictive pericarditis. Other important entities that involve the pericardium include benign and malignant pericardial masses, pericardial cysts, and diverticula, as well as congenital absence of the pericardium. Recent advances in multimodality noninvasive cardiac imaging have solidified its role in the management of patients with suspected pericardial disease. The physiologic and structural information obtained from transthoracic echocardiography and the anatomic detail provided by cardiac computed tomography and magnetic resonance have led to growing interest in the complementary use of these techniques. Optimal management of the patient with suspected pericardial disease requires familiarity with the key imaging modalities and the ability to choose the appropriate imaging tests for each patient. This report reviews the imaging modalities most useful in the assessment of patients with pericardial disease, with an emphasis on the complementary value of multimodality cardiac imaging.

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