Isolated pericardial effusion in the human fetus: a report of three cases




Our objective was to determine the possible underlying etiologies and outcome in isolated fetal pericardial effusion.


Doppler fetal echocardiography allowed the diagnosis of pericardial effusion in three patients and revealed the etiology in two.


We present the findings in three cases of isolated pericardial effusion. In the first, the pericardial effusion was a manifestation of trisomy 21 associated with a myeloproliferative disorder. In the second, the pericardial fluid collection was the first sign of an autosomal recessive disease, idiopathic infantile arterial calcification.The third case was remarkable because of the spontaneous resolution of a large pericardial fluid collection.


Isolated fetal pericardial effusion covers a wide spectrum of etiologies from severe genetic and chromosomal diseases to transient forms. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.