How are effusions defined on echocardiogram 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

To a limited extent, an echocardiogram can characterize the effusion. Very small effusions are located posterior and inferior to the left ventricle. Moderate effusions extend toward the apex of the heart, and large effusions circumscribe the heart. Weitzman criteria define a moderate effusion as an echo-free pericardial space (anterior plus posterior) of 10-20 mm during diastole and a large effusion as an echo-free space more than 20 mm.


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