A pericarditis is defined as inflammation of the pericardium. It is normally found in association with cardiac, thoracic or wider systemic pathology and it is unusual to manifest on its own.

It can be sub typed according to morphology

Acute forms

* serous pericarditis
* suppurative (purulent) pericarditis
* tuberculous (caseous) pericarditis : see case
* fibrinous pericarditis
* haemorrhagic pericarditis

Established forms

* constrictive pericarditis
* adhesive pericarditis

Radiographic features

Cardiac MRI

Usually T1, T2 and GRE cine sequences are performed.

The normal pericardial thickness is considered 2 mm while a thickness of over 4 mm suggests a pericarditis 1,2. The presence of an arrthymia may induce artefacts.

For specific features refer to sub types.


Tuberculous pericarditis with catheter Modality: X-Ray


Catheter drainage of Tuberculous pericarditis Modality: Ultrasound


Constrictive pericarditis Modality: X-Ray

Author : Dr Yuranga Weerakkody, Radiopaedia


* 1. Zhen J. Wang, CT and MR Imaging of Pericardial Disease, October 2003 RadioGraphics, 23, S167-S18
* 2. Arzu Kovanlikaya, Characterizing Chronic Pericarditis Using Steady-State Free-Precession Cine MR Imaging, AJR 2002; 179:475-476
* 3. U Sechtem, MRI of the abnormal pericardium, AJR 147:245-252, August 1986

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