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What is pericardial effusion?

Q: I am 34 years old. Off late I am experiencing some chest pain. I underwent a master health check up and found that my ECG and chest x-ray were normal. The doctor then advised that I take an echocardiogram. The result was primarily normal but it stated that there was a trace of pericardial effusion. According to the doctor this is normal and everyone has it. Is the doctor right? Should I consult a specialist?

A:Pericardial effusion is the presence of an abnormal amount and/or character of fluid in the pericardial space, which normally contains 15-50 cc of fluid. This fluid functions as a lubricant between the 2 layers of the pericardium. A false-positive echocardiogram can occur in pleural effusion, pericardial thickening, increased pericardial fat (especially the anterior epicardial fat pad), atelectasis, and mediastinal lesions.


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