The Pericardium

  • Eric S. RichardsonEmail author
  • Alexander J. Hill
  • Nicholas D. Skadsberg
  • Michael Ujhelyi
  • Yong-Fu Xiao
  • Paul A. Iaizzo


The pericardium is a unique structure that surrounds the heart and serves several important physiological roles. The removal of the pericardium, certain pericardial disorders, or the buildup of fluids within this space will ultimately alter hemodynamic performance. Recent therapeutic approaches have been directed to exploit the space that exists between the pericardium and the epicardial surface of the heart. New devices and techniques are being developed to access this space with minimally invasive approaches. The pharmacokinetics of many drugs may be greatly enhanced if the drug is delivered into the pericardium. As more is learned about the pericardium, it may play a significant role in cardiac therapies.


Pericardium Pericardial fluid Mechanical effects Pericardial disorders Comparative anatomy Intrapericardial therapeutics 

Supplementary material

145597_3_En_9_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (178 kb)
JPG 9.1. Posterior portion of the pericardial sac in a swine from which the heart was removed (JPEG 179 kB)

Video 9.1. The effect of removing the pericardium from an isolated swine heart (MPEG 7,760)

Video 9.2. Movies of both swine and human subjects to show the differences in thoracic anatomy (MPEG 1,509 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric S. Richardson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexander J. Hill
    • 2
  • Nicholas D. Skadsberg
    • 2
  • Michael Ujhelyi
    • 2
  • Yong-Fu Xiao
    • 3
  • Paul A. Iaizzo
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Medtronic, Inc.MinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.University of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNewarkUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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