1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Anatomy of the Heart: Pericardium


What is the pericardium?

The pericardium is the fluid filled sac that surrounds the heart and the proximal ends of the aorta, vena cava, and the pulmonary artery.

Function of the Pericardium

The pericardium has several functions:
  • Keeps the heart contained in the chest cavity.

  • Prevents the heart from overexpanding when blood volume increases.

  • Limits heart motion.

Pericardial Membranes

The pericardium is divided into three layers:

Pericardial Cavity

The pericardial cavity lies between the visceral pericardium and the parietal pericardium. This cavity is filled with pericardial fluid which serves as a shock absorber by reducing friction between the pericardial membranes.

Pericardial Disorders

Pericarditis is a disorder of the pericardium in which the pericardium becomes swollen or inflamed. Some causes of pericarditis include bacterial or viral infections, cancer, and hear attack.

Pericardial effusion is a disorder caused by the accumulation of large amounts of fluid in the pericardium.

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Biology
  4. Human Anatomy & Biology
  5. Anatomy
  6. Heart
  7. Anatomy of the Heart: Pericardium

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.