What is the role of a chest radiograph in the diagnosis of acute pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

A chest radiograph is helpful to exclude pulmonary conditions that may be responsible for or are associated with the cause of pericarditis (ie, cancer, infection, SLE, sarcoidosis, etc). It is not helpful for evaluating the presence of pericardial fluid, as patients with small effusions (less than a few hundred milliliters) may present with a normal cardiac silhouette; it is only helpful for diagnosing fluid in patients with effusions larger than 250 mL.


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