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If you experience shortness of breath and fatigue with a low-grade fever and dry cough, call your WellStar physician. If you experience severe chest pain – a common symptom of pericardial effusion but also of a heart attack – go to the emergency room immediately.

Pericardial Effusion Disease Prevention

Most initial cases of pericardial effusion cannot be prevented. But you can take steps to reduce pericardial effusion from becoming more severe or developing into cardiac tamponade.

Help Reduce Your Risk of Pericardial Effusion Disease

You can lower your chances of more severe forms of pericardial effusion by getting prompt treatment, adhering to the plan you and your WellStar physician devise and continuing medical care.

Tests and Screenings for Pericardial Effusion Disease

In diagnosing for pericardial effusion, your WellStar physician will take a careful medical history and perform a physical examination. With a stethoscope, your physician can listen for a high-pitched, scratchy sound in your heart called a friction rub. If there is a large amount of fluid, your heartbeat may be muffled or sound distant.

Based on the exam, your physician might order some of these tests:

  • Chest X-ray to reveal fluid accumulation around the heart
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to record the electrical activity of your heart and to reveal if there are rhythm issues or if there had been a heart attack
  • Echocardiogram, an ultrasound test, designed to outline the structural features of the myocardium and surrounding structures
  • Cardiac stress tests, which measure your heart’s performance during exertion
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can provide a three-dimensional image of your heart
  • Blood tests to check your kidney and thyroid functions or for diseases that could affect the performance of your heart and to ensure that you are not having a heart attack

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