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Pericardial Mesothelioma is a rare asbestos-related cancer that affects the lining that surrounds and protects the heart. It is difficult to detect because its symptoms mimic common heart conditions, like congestive heart failure. Proximity to the heart limits treatment options, and the prognosis is poor unless detected early.

What Is Pericardial Mesothelioma?

All Mesotheliomas occur when mesothelial tissue sustains genetic damage from Asbestos fibers. When this happens in the pericardial lining (mesothelial heart lining), it is called Pericardial Mesothelioma. This condition is one of the rarest Asbestos cancers because the Asbestos fibers have to travel at a sharp angle from the left bronchus to encounter the heart.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Symptoms

The Pericardial Mesothelioma symptoms are mostly undetectable or are easily explained away by more common heart conditions. These symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Heart murmurs
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Pericardial effusion (fluid buildup around the heart)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Cardiac failure
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

How is Pericardial Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

More often than not, pericardial mesothelioma is diagnosed when investigating heart conditions with similar symptoms. It happens because doctors are usually not aware of the working history of patients. If asbestos exposure is known to have occurred, doctors then proceed with diagnostic tests.

First, imaging scans help to determine the source of the symptoms. If doctors believe it is cancer, then a biopsy is performed to determine the type of cancer. Together, these tests help doctors determine the best course of action to help the patient.

There are very few Pericardial Mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the United States. The treatment options are the same as Pleural Mesothelioma but are made more difficult by the proximity to the heart.

Help your doctor discover the cause of your Mesothelioma symptoms as soon as possible. It is crucial to share any history of asbestos exposure you have experienced during your life during your initial appointment.

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Pericardial Mesothelioma Treatments

Treatments for Pericardial Mesothelioma are not as advanced or studied, such as those for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Due to this type of cancer's rarity, treatment for this disease only includes two types of surgery and chemotherapy.


Surgery is available for pericardial mesothelioma patients with an early stage of cancer. The surgical procedure meant for removing tumor masses can only be done when cancer hasn't spread outside the pericardium.

Pericardiectomy: This surgical procedure removes the pericardium partially or entirely. How much heart lining tissue is removed is based on how far peritoneal mesothelioma has spread. Usually, only early-stage patients can undergo this procedure.

‍Pericardiocentesis: This surgical procedure removes the pericardium partially or entirely. How much heart lining tissue is removed is based on how far peritoneal mesothelioma has spread to other body areas. Usually, only early-stage patients can undergo this procedure.


Chemotherapy has shown results in Pericardial Mesothelioma patients who could no longer be viable for surgery. Chemotherapy helps slow tumor growth and combats cancer progression.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Prognosis

Due to this disease's rarity, many patients are misdiagnosed or diagnosed post-mortem. This unfortunate reality gives pericardial mesothelioma patients a challenging prognosis. The medical literature reports cases where Pericardial Mesothelioma was treated by a combination of chemotherapy and surgery.

Generally, Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. Many factors contribute to life expectancy, and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits, some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly.

Mesothelioma Compensation

If you been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, or if a family member has died from Mesothelioma, FlintCooper will be able to help you obtain compensation.

The process of maximizing this Asbestos compensation for you and your family can begin in just a few months.

Pericardial Mesothelioma FAQs

How Rare Is Pericardial Mesothelioma?

Pericardial Mesothelioma, also known as mesothelioma heart cancer, is the least common of the three major mesothelioma cancer types and accounts for about 1-2% of all cases. Less than 50 people are diagnosed with Pericardial Mesothelioma each year. It is so rare that each new diagnosis is reportable in the medical literature.

How Did Asbestos Fibers Get Into My Heart?

Asbestos fibers have to travel a circuitous route to get to the Pericardial Lining. Asbestos can enter the lungs by breathing or swallowing fibers in the ambient air. The fibers can lodge themselves in the upper lobe tissue of your left lung or the left bronchus.

Once stuck in tissue, these Asbestos "needles" will travel in the path of least resistance based on gravity and body moments. One theory is that the fibers are more likely to move towards the heart if they are already pointed in that direction in a standing, sitting, or sleeping position.

How Did I Get Pericardial Mesothelioma?

All mesothelioma diagnoses are caused by Asbestos exposure. If you have been diagnosed with Pericardial Mesothelioma, then you have Asbestos exposure. Our experienced attorneys will be able to investigate the source. Over a lifetime, these fibers travel, get trapped in the body, and travel to the heart. The statistical odds of one of the fibers causing cancer is minuscule, but when it does happen, it creates Pericardial Mesothelioma.

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Adrianne Andrus

Reviewed by:  Adrienne Andrus
Chief Editor of FlintCooper
Client Advocate & Product Liability Paralegal since 2015.
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication, SIU Edwardsville

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