Your pericardium is a tough, layered sac that surrounds your heart. Your heart slides easily inside this sac as it beats.
Pericardial effusion is a condition in which there is an abnormal amount of fluid between the pericardium and your heart. When things are as they should be, there are about 2 to 3 tablespoons of clear-yellow pericardial fluid between two layers. This lubricates your heart’s movement within the pericardium. With pericardial effusion, much larger amounts of pericardial fluid accumulate. If the pericardial effusion is small, you may have 100 milliliters of pericardial fluid. If it is large, you may have more than 2 liters of pericardial fluid.
Pericardial effusion may be a part of pericarditis. Pericarditis is a condition in which there is irritation and swelling of your pericardium. Sometimes, the cause of this condition is unknown. It is not clear how some diseases may play a role in causing pericardial effusion. However, there are some specific causes of this condition. These include:
§ Dressler’s syndrome (inflammation of the pericardium after a heart attack or heart surgery)
§ Autoimmune disorders like lupus or arthritis
§ Fungal, bacterial, parasitic or viral infections
§ Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
§ Idiopathic pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium from an unknown cause)
§ Certain medications like hydralazine, phenytoin or isoniazid
§ Cancer of the heart or pericardium
§ Puncture wound or trauma near your heart
§ Chemotherapy treatment for cancer
§ Uremia (waste product that is in your blood resulting from kidney failure
§ Radiation treatment for cancer if your heart is in the field of radiation
§ The spread (metastasis) of some cancers like leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, lung cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or breast cancer.
You may not have any signs or symptoms with pericardial effusion. On the other hand, there are several signs and symptoms that may be an indication of this condition. Some of these are:
§ Low-grade fever
§ Overall sense of weakness or fatigue
§ Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
§ Painful breathing that is particularly prominent when you are lying down or inhaling
§ Rapid heart rate
§ Orthopnea (shortness of breath when you are lying down)
§ Dizziness or fainting
§ Chest pain that usually occurs on the left side of your chest or behind your breastbone.
You or a loved one may have or have had pericardial effusion. Complications resulting from pericardial effusion and/or other underlying conditions along with it may be why you are disabled and in need of financial help.
You or your loved one may be thinking about applying for the financial assistance that you need from the Social Security Administration by applying for Social Security disability benefits or disability benefits because of the disability caused by complications resulting from pericardial effusion and/or other underlying conditions along with it. You or your loved one may have already done this and been denied.
If you or your loved one is considering reapplying or appealing the denial, consider this. People who have a disability lawyer working for you like the one you will find at Social Security Home are approved more often than people who are not represented by a disability attorney.
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