Asked by Lin , Wisconsin
Is there someone who can give me information about pericardial cysts -- how and when they are treated, how to find the best cardiologists?
Dr. Otis Brawley
Chief Medical Officer,
American Cancer Society
The pericardium is a bag-like structure that surrounds the heart. It is normally a smooth, thin tissue. A pericardial cyst is a small fluid-filled mass that is part of the pericardium. It is sometimes called "spring water cysts of the pericardium" because it is filled with clear liquid. Pericardial cysts are a very rare entity and it's even rarer that they cause symptoms. They are usually diagnosed as an incidental finding on a chest X-ray or CT scan done for some other reason.
The pericardium and heart are located in the mediastinum. This is the space in the chest between the lungs. Also in the mediastinum are the esophagus and a gland called the thymus. Things that can appear in this area and be confused with pericardial cysts are a few cancers, especially lymphomas (or cancers of the lymph nodes), and some rare parasitic infections such as echinococcus. The distinction is usually confirmed with CT or MRI looking for the characteristic water density in the cyst. These tests are interpreted by radiologists. It is generally not difficult for an expert radiologist to make this determination if a mass is suspected to be a pericardial cyst.
The approach to a pericardial cyst is to verify that it is truly a pericardial cyst and monitor it if it is asymptomatic. In the rare instance in which the cyst causes a problem, it is because it has become so large that it is pressing on the heart or the large blood vessels leading to or from the heart and obstructing blood flow.
A symptomatic cyst can usually be treated by a needle passed through the chest wall with ultrasound or CT guidance to drain it. Ethanol is sometimes injected in the drained space to keep the cyst from recurring.
Is it OK for diabetic to use corn remover on feet?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.