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Pericardial Mesothelioma affects the pericardium, the serous membrane lining the heart sac.
Pericardial mesothelioma is the least common type of malignant mesothelioma, accounting for less than 10 percent of all cases.
The only known cause for pericardial mesothelioma in the United States is prior exposure to asbestos. Often, symptoms relating to pericardial mesothelioma will not manifest until decades after the asbestos exposure has taken place.
As with peritoneal mesothelioma, researchers are uncertain as to how asbestos fibers make their way to the pericardium. Some experts believe that inhaled asbestos fibers break down into smaller pieces in the lung and then absorb into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the fibers are pumped through the heart, ultimately settling in the pericardium and causing pericardial mesothelioma.
The most common presenting symptom of pericardial mesothelioma is chest pain. This can be the result of an irregular heartbeat caused by fluid accumulation in the pericardial space.
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