What is the role of CT scanning in the identification of pericardial calcifications?

Updated: Sep 10, 2019
  • Author: Sohail G Contractor, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

Calcification of the pericardium is usually preceded by a prior episode of pericarditis or trauma. Occasionally, pericardial tumors, such as intrapericardial teratomas and pericardial cysts, can calcify. [13] CT is the best technique to detect pericardial calcification; however, overpenetrated films, conventional tomography, fluoroscopy, and MRI may be helpful. The normal pericardium is 1-2 mm thick and composed of an outer fibrous layer and an inner serous layer, which subdivides into a visceral layer, or epicardium, and a parietal layer. The pericardium normally lacks any calcium deposits. Calcification may be a sign of underlying inflammation or another cause. Signs and symptoms of pericardial calcification can develop because of an underlying disease process such as constrictive pericarditis. Pericardial calcification alone, however, is generally asymptomatic. Chest radiography may identify pericardial calcification but has low sensitivity. CT can provide excellent detail of both the heart and the pericardium. [14, 15]


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