Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pericardial Cavity

The pericardial cavity is the space 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. The pericardium is the fluid filled sac which contains the heart; it is divided into three layers: 1) fibrous pericardium, which is outer fibrous sac covering the heart; 2) parietal pericardium, lying in between the fibrous pericardium and visceral pericardium; 3) visceral pericardium, which is the layer that surround the heart. The space between the parietal pericardium and the visceral pericardium is called the pericardial cavity, which is filled with fluid. Too much fluid in the pericardial cavity, such as in a pericardial effusion, can result in pericardial tamponade, which is compression of the heart within the pericardial sac.