HEART – Pericarditis (idiopathic)

This specimen shows both ventricles cut just below the mid point. The ventricular wall is of normal thickness and the muscle appears normal. The coronary arteries show no obvious atheroma. The pericardium is markedly thickened by a pale yellow shaggy exudate. Histologically the exudate showed evidence of organisation; it had probably been present for several weeks. No organisms were identified in histologic sections and there was no growth from the swab taken from the pericardial surface.
This man had been vaguely unwell for some time and died unexpectedly at the age of 52. At autopsy there was approximately 800 ml of thin brown fluid in the pericardial sac. The heart was normal in size; the liver showed a gross fatty infiltration with early cirrhosis. The kidneys were normal.