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"Trivial" Pericardial Effusion
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"Trivial" Pericardial Effusion

Hello,

I was recently in the hospital for observation after an "abnormal" ekg and slight dyspnea. Those aren't unusual for me because I've had arrhythmia issues (usually sinus tach) for about a year and a half now.

The admitting doctor ordered an echocardiogram since it'd been about six months since my last one (this makes my fourth one), and something new was on the report that they did not mention to me while I was admitted:

"7. Pericardium, extracardiac: A trivial pericardial effusion was identified along the right atrial free wall."

Does this mean anything? I know effusion means there's extra fluid around the heart, but the only causes I've been able to find are either pericarditis (which I had no other signs of - no pain or illness), other conditions I obviously don't have, or metastatic cancer (eek!).

I've gone and frightened myself silly over what I'm pretty sure is a result of a misinterpretation of a normal medical report. After all, the report wouldn't say "trivial" if it was actually significant, and the doctor would have said something if they were concerned, right?

Can someone possibly explain this better for me?
Avatar_dr_f_tn
It is normal to have a trivial pericardial effusion. There is always some fluid around the heart to lubricate the space between the heart and the sac that holds it. Nothing to worry about.
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I forgot to mention my WBC's were a bit elevated (granulocytes in particular), but I wasn't experiencing any illness. No fever, nausea, etc.
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