Heart scans often reveal more than coronary plaque. From time to time, I’ll show some curious findings that people have displayed during routine heart scans.
This 65-year old man had a relatively low heart scan score of 73, but showed an impressive quantity of calcification of his pericardium, the usually soft-tissue sack that encases the heart. The calcified pericardium is the white arcs that surround the heart in the center of the image.
Thankfully, because he’s without any symptoms of breathlessness, excessive fatigue, or leg swelling, he won’t need to have it surgically corrected. When the pericardium becomes rigid and encircles the heart, it can literally squeeze the heart, a condition called “constrictive pericarditis”. The surgery is pretty awful.
This man’s calcified pericardium likely resulted from one or more viral infections over his lifetime.
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