The medical term for the occurrence of fluid around the heart is pericardial effusion and when the patient is diagnosed with this condition, it causes a lot of fear since it sounds very seriously.
The structure of our heart is very complex. This organ has four chambers and valves, which are protected by a membrane. The membrane has two layers and it is called pericardium. In a healthy person, it is allowed that the space between the heart and the membrane is filled with a few millimeters of the fluid, but when this fluid accumulates in an abnormal amount, it is serious and causes pericardial effusion. There are also cases, although few, where the fluid even contains blood.
Causes of fluid around the heart
Pericardial effusion neither depends on the age of the person, nor is it an inheritable condition. However, there are several medical conditions that greatly influence the formation of the excess fluid around the heart. For example, when the pericardial fluid flow is somehow blocked, or when the blood builds up in the pericardium, pericardial effusion occurs. Furthermore, fluid around the heart may also be caused by the cancer of several organs, which expanded to the heart. The cancer of the thyroid gland, pancreas cancer, leukemia and the kidney cancer are some of the diseases that tend to induce the accumulation of fluids around the heart. Moreover, the cancer of cervix in women also leads to the fluid buildup, and the same is possible with the cancer of esophagus and stomach.
Tuberculosis, as well as various infections (whether viral, bacterial or caused by any other pathogen) might also be responsible for the occurrence of pericardial effusion. Other health disorders that are considered to be the triggers of the accumulation of fluid between the pericardium and the heart are congestive heart failure, kidney disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer in women. Chemotherapy and a surgery, as well as an injury to the heart and the consummation of certain medicines, might lead to the incidence of pericardial effusion.
Symptoms of fluid around the heart
Among the first warning signs of pericardial effusion are shortness of breath and troublesome breathing, which usually appear while doing some simple daily activities. Furthermore, the people with this condition might also feel a strong sharp pain in the chest, dry cough and a feeling of heaviness in the chest. Fluid around the heart may also cause dizziness, difficulty when swallowing and low grade fever. In some severe cases, lips may turn blue in color.