Pericardium – Class 11 | Chapter – 18 | Biology Short Notes Series PDF

Pericardium: The human heart is situated to the left of the chest and is enclosed within a fluid-filled cavity known as the pericardial cavity. The walls and lining of the pericardial cavity are made up of a membrane known as the pericardium. The pericardium is a fibrous membrane found as an external covering around the heart. It protects the heart by producing a fluid, which lubricates the heart and prevents friction between the surrounding organs.

Roles of Pericardium

  • It keeps your heart fixed in place within your chest cavity.
  • It prevents your heart from stretching too much and overfilling with blood.
  • It lubricates your heart to prevent friction with the tissues around it as it beats.
  • It protects your heart from any infections that might spread from nearby organs like the lungs.

Layers of Pericardium

  • Fibrous pericardium is the outer layer. It’s made from thick connective tissue and is attached to your diaphragm. It holds your heart in place in the chest cavity and protects from infections.
  • Serous pericardium is the inner layer. It’s further divided into two more layers: the visceral and parietal layers. The serous pericardium helps to lubricate your heart.

In between these two layers is the fluid-filled pericardial cavity. It lubricates the heart and protects it from injury.

Pericardial Effusion

Pericardial effusion is the buildup of too much fluid between the pericardium and your heart. This can happen from damage or disease in the pericardium. Fluid can also build up if there’s bleeding in your pericardium after an injury.

Possible causes of pericardial effusion include:

  • diseases that cause inflammation, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • severe underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • infections
  • recent heart surgery
  • cancer that has spread to your pericardium
  • kidney failure

Symptoms of pericardial effusion include:

  • chest pressure or pain
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing when you lie down
  • nausea
  • a feeling of fullness in your chest
  • trouble swallowing

The excess fluid from pericardial effusion can cause intense pressure on your heart and damage it.

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By Team Learning Mantras