What is the role of M-mode echocardiography in the diagnosis of acute pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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M-mode is used to evaluate pericardial fluid and timing during the cardiac cycle; it demonstrates persistence of the echo-free space between the parietal pericardium and the epicardium during this cycle. Fluid is distributed from the posterobasal left ventricle apically and anteriorly, then laterally and posteriorly to the left atrium. Fluid adjacent to the right atrium is an early indicator of an effusion. Other causes of echo-free space that must be considered include pleural effusion, pericardial masses, and epicardial fat.

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