ICU Chest Films > Fluid in the Chest > Pericardial Effusions > Radiographic Appearance

Radiographic Appearance of Pericardial Effusions

Radiographically, pericardial effusions appear as changes in the size and shape of the cardiac silhouette resulting a featureless, globular or "water bottle" shape. The pericardial fluid on an ICU film is generally not distinctly visible; instead it enlarges the cardiac shadow.

Cardiomegaly and a globular heart shape in a patient with a large pericardial effusion.

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