AskDefine | Define pericardium

Dictionary Definition

pericardium n : a double-layered serous membrane that surrounds the heart [also: pericardia (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In the context of "anatomy|cardiology": A serous membrane that surrounds the heart allowing it to contract.

Extensive Definition

The pericardium is a double-walled sac that contains the heart and the roots of the great vessels.


There are two layers to the pericardial sac: the fibrous pericardium and the serous pericardium. The serous pericardium, in turn, is divided into two layers, the parietal pericardium, which is fused to and inseparable from the fibrous pericardium, and the visceral pericardium, which is in fact epicardium, or the outer surface of the heart muscle (the myocardium).
In between the parietal and visceral pericardial layers there is a potential space called the pericardial cavity. It is normally lubricated by a film of pericardial fluid. Too much fluid in the cavity (such as in a pericardial effusion) can result in pericardial tamponade, compression of the heart within the pericardial sac.


cardiac tamponade.

Additional images

External links

  • - "Mediastinum: Pericardium (pericardial sac)"
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pericardium in Arabic: تامور
pericardium in German: Herzbeutel
pericardium in Spanish: Pericardio
pericardium in French: Péricarde
pericardium in Italian: Pericardio
pericardium in Latin: Pericardium
pericardium in Lithuanian: Širdiplėvė
pericardium in Malay (macrolanguage): Perikardium
pericardium in Dutch: Pericard
pericardium in Japanese: 心膜
pericardium in Norwegian Nynorsk: Hjartepose
pericardium in Polish: Osierdzie
pericardium in Russian: Перикард
pericardium in Finnish: Perikardium
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