What is the prevalence of pericardial effusion in rheumatoid arthritis pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Echocardiographic studies have noted pericardial effusions in 50% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with nodules and in only 15% of patients with RA without nodules. In patients with sarcoidosis, this study shows that pericardial involvement is present in 20% of cases; however, patients may not have significant myocardial infiltration.

An example of an echocardiographic image is shown below.

This ultrasonogram demonstrates a normal subcostal This ultrasonogram demonstrates a normal subcostal 4-chamber view of the heart. The pericardium is brightly reflective (echogenic or white in appearance). LA = left atrium; LV = left ventricle; RA = right atrium; RV = right ventricle. Part B courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Patrick J Lynch and C Carl Jaffe.

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