Pericardial Effusion

Pericardial effusion is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pericardial cavity.


Pericardial effusion symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • Shortness of breath when lying down (orthopnea)
  • Chest pain, usually behind the breastbone or on the left side of the chest
  • Cough
  • Painful breathing, especially when inhaling or lying down
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Low-grade fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Overall sense of fatigue or weakness

However, some patients who suffer from perdicardial effusion show no symptoms. Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of pericardial effusion.


Treatment of pericardial effusion is based on the underlying condition that is causing it.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you

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