Pericardial Diseases

Clinical Services: Cardiothoracic Surgery (Heart Surgery)
Upper East Side
525 East 68th Street, M-404
New York, NY 10065
Mon-Fri 09:00am - 05:00pm
(646) 962-0108
(212) 746-5166
North Queens
56-45 Main Street, 3S – Room 387
Flushing, NY 11355
Mon-Fri 09:00am - 05:00pm
(718) 661-7404
(718) 670-1137

The pericardium is a thin sac that surrounds the heart, separating it from the lungs and other organs in the chest. It is composed of two layers—an inner and outer layer—that hold fluid in between.

There are several types pericardia diseases, all of which require specialized, comprehensive care.


This condition is caused by the pericardium becoming inflamed. Pericarditis can cause chest pain, changes in the heart’s rhythm (referred to as “EKG changes”), or the accumulation of fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion or pericardia tamponade).

Fluid around the heart must be drained. Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery offers state-of-the-art techniques for draining the pericardium, including percutaneous drainage—a minimally invasive technique that uses advanced imaging technology.

Constrictive pericarditis

Chronic inflammation may lead to severe thickening of the pericardium, which restricts the heart. To treat constrictive pericarditis, cardiac surgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine perform a pericardiectomy, commonly referred to as “pericardial stripping” to maximize relief and prevent future recurrence.

Pericardial cysts

Pericardial cysts are sacs of fluid surrounded by a fibrous layer of tissue. A skilled surgeon can safely remove them, often using minimally invasive techniques.

Why choose Weill Cornell Medicine for pericardial disease treatment?

●   Access to state-of-the-art imaging technology for the most accurate diagnosis possible

●   Our record of excellent outcomes

●   Our surgical team works with each patient to develop an individualized, comprehensive treatment plan

●   Expertise in minimally invasive cardiac surgery

●   Collaboration among a wide range of specialists, which ensures the best possible recovery