Annals of Pediatric Cardiology
About us | Current Issue | Archives | Ahead of Print | Instructions | Submission | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact | Login 


    Advanced search

    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

   Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded91    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents   
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 105-106
Iatrogenic pericardial defect

Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL, USA

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission25-Apr-2020
Date of Decision26-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance17-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication23-Sep-2020


Pericardial defects are uncommon, usually congenital, and frequently involve a complete absence of the pericardium. Partial pericardial defects are more likely to result in complications. Iatrogenic pericardial defects are usually partial defects and may present with cardiac strangulation. We present the case of an iatrogenic pericardial defect in an asymptomatic 20-year-old female.

Keywords: Cardiac herniation, cardiac strangulation, iatrogenic pericardial defect

How to cite this article:
Murray BJ, Diamond JB, English RF. Iatrogenic pericardial defect. Ann Pediatr Card 2021;14:105-6

How to cite this URL:
Murray BJ, Diamond JB, English RF. Iatrogenic pericardial defect. Ann Pediatr Card [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 7];14:105-6. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Congenital pericardial defects have an estimated frequency of 0.01%–0.04% and may be asymptomatic or present with cardiac strangulation. They are typically left sided and usually do not require intervention.[1] Iatrogenic pericardial defects are more rare and can present with late cardiac strangulation.[2]

   Case Report Top

An asymptomatic 20-year-old female presented for surveillance echocardiography 6 years after a diagnosis of left femur osteosarcoma. She had undergone chemotherapy with anthracyclines and resection of the tumor along with radiation therapy to the leg. Three years after her diagnosis, she was found to have a metastasis in the lingula of the left lung. At surgery, the affected region of the lung was adherent to the pericardium, so a 3 cm × 3 cm piece of pericardium was resected. Her surveillance echocardiograms showed no changes for the 1st year after the surgery. Her current echocardiogram demonstrated an unusual contour to the posterolateral wall of the left ventricle, suggestive of a left lateral ventricular aneurysm, though the affected region was contractile and of normal thickness [Video 1].

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was obtained which showed a circumferential demarcating line of compression encircling the heart, indicating herniation through the pericardial defect [Figure 1]. It did not discern any significant coronary compression. Cardiac catheterization demonstrated complete occlusion of the left anterior descending and left circumflex coronary arteries in diastole [Figure 2]. The right coronary artery was not affected. She was taken to the operating room where the pericardial defect, which measured 10 cm × 15 cm, was revealed. The apex of the heart was herniated through this defect into the left chest. Two patches of bovine pericardium were required to completely close the defect, returning the heart to the mediastinum. There was no scarring of the heart to the edges of the defect or to the lung. She had an uneventful recovery.
Figure 1: Axial image of the heart showing a line of demarcation (yellow arrows) indicating the edges of the pericardial defect

Click here to view
Figure 2: Selective left coronary angiography demonstrates complete diastolic occlusion of the left anterior descending and left circumflex coronary arteries

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

Congenital defects can be complete or partial. A complete absence of the pericardium is associated with less severe consequences and a better prognosis in general. Iatrogenic pericardial defects are associated with a higher rate of morbidity, as they consistently result in partial defects with the potential for herniation and resultant strangulation.[3] These defects are more common in adults undergoing surgery for lung cancer and are rare in the pediatric population. Echocardiography has been the primary diagnostic tool for this entity. More recently, cardiac MRI has replaced echocardiography as the standard. While the complete absence of the pericardium is often followed clinically, partial defects involving the left ventricle (both congenital and iatrogenic) are often managed operatively even when the patient is asymptomatic because of the potential for severe complications. Defects confined to the upper left heart border permitting only the appendage to protrude are the exception to surgical intervention since the risk for incarceration is minimal.[4]

Our case highlights an unusual complication as partial pericardiectomy is rarely undertaken in the pediatric population. Close follow-up of these patients with frequent echocardiography is needed to prevent serious complications.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Khayata M, Alkharabsheh S, Shah NP, Verma BR, Gentry JL, Summers M, et al. Case series, contemporary review and imaging guided diagnostic and management approach of congenital pericardial defects. Open Heart 2020;7:e001103.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ohshima H, Takeuchi H, Yamaguchi T, Takanashi R, Tsunoda K. Late cardiac strangulation due to an iatrogenic pericardial defect. Chest 1993;104:977-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Shimizu J, Ishida Y, Hirano Y, Tatsuzawa Y, Kawaura Y, Nozawa A, et al. Cardiac herniation following intrapericardial pneumonectomy with partial pericardiectomy for advanced lung cancer. Ann Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2003;9:68-72.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bennett KR. Congenital foramen of the left pericardium. Ann Thorac Surg 2000;70:993-8.  Back to cited text no. 4

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Robert F English
Pediatric Cardiovascular Center, University of Florida, 841 Prudential Drive, Suite 100, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/apc.APC_83_20

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 A case report of congenital absence of the pericardium that was diagnosed by cardiac computed tomography angiogram (CCTA)
Bandar Alyami, Anas Alharbi, Mohamed Alhajji, Salwa Gendi, Yasmin S. Hamirani
Radiology Case Reports. 2022; 17(9): 3380
[Pubmed] | [DOI]