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Pericardium: Wikis


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Posterior wall of the pericardial sac, showing the lines of reflection of the serous pericardium on the great vessels.
A transverse section of the thorax, showing the contents of the middle and the posterior mediastinum. The pleural and pericardial cavities are exaggerated since normally there is no space between parietal and visceral pleura and between pericardium and heart Paricardium is also known as cariac epidemis.
Gray's subject #137 524
Artery pericardiacophrenic artery
MeSH Pericardium

The pericardium (from the Greek περικάρδιον /perikardion/) is a double-walled sac that contains the heart and the roots of the great vessels.



There are two layers to the pericardial sac: the fibrous pericardium and the serous pericardium. The serous pericardium, in turn, is divided into two layers, the parietal pericardium, which is fused to and inseparable from the fibrous pericardium, and the visceral pericardium, which is part of the epicardium. The epicardium is the layer immediately outside of the heart muscle proper (the myocardium).

The visceral layer extends to the beginning of the great vessels, becoming one with the parietal layer of the serous pericardium. This happens at two areas; where the aorta and pulmonary trunk leave the heart and where the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava and pulmonary veins enter the heart.

In between the parietal and visceral pericardial layers there is a potential space called the pericardial cavity. It is normally lubricated by a film of pericardial fluid. Too much fluid in the cavity (such as in a pericardial effusion) can result in pericardial tamponade (compression of the heart within the pericardial sac). A pericardectomy is sometimes needed in these cases.


Relating topics

Pericardial sinus

Additional images


  • Schimmel, Annemarie (1975). Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1271-6. 

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