[Malignant mesothelioma of the pericardium. An anatomo-clinical study of 10 cases]

Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 1994 Feb;87(2):255-62.
[Article in French]


Ten pericardial mesotheliomas (8 of which had associated unilateral pleural involvement) were observed over a 22 year period in subjects over 50 years of age. The diagnosis was only confirmed several months after the presenting symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain), usually by histological studies of pericardial biopsies performed during construction of a pleuro-pericardial window because of tamponade or of pleural biopsy in cases of pleuro-pericardial disease. There is no specific diagnostic feature and even modern imaging methods are unable to distinguish mesothelioma from pericardial tuberculosis. In 7 cases, there were large haemorrhagic pericardial effusions. At present, there is no effective treatment for mesothelioma and the physician's goal is to make the patient's short survival time as comfortable as possible with respect to the severe pain and recurrent pleuro-pericardial effusions. The pericardial mesothelioma is rare (less than 1% compared with 96% pleural and 3% peritoneal localisations) and possibly related to exposure to asbestos, at least in those cases with associated pleural involvement. The authors underline the utility of histological analysis of the utility of histological analysis of the pericardium if only to establish the diagnosis of mesothelioma and to enable administration of curative treatment of other pathologies (tuberculosis, malignant lymphoma) with identical clinical presentations.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asbestosis / complications
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Heart Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / diagnosis*
  • Mesothelioma / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pericardiectomy
  • Pericardium*