Pericardial fat pads

Last revised by Liz Silverstone on 11 Oct 2023

Pericardial fat pads are normal adipose tissue masses that lie in the cardiophrenic angles and straddle the pericardium as they are derived from both epicardial fat and epipericardial fat, the latter being adherent and external to the parietal pericardium. Fat pads are more prominent in obese patients. 

They can be affected by fat necrosis, see: epipericardial fat necrosis and inflammation directly causing coronary atheromatous disease 6

  • mass or hazy opacity in the cardiophrenic angle

  • cardiac and diaphragmatic silhouettes usually visible

  • easily differentiates pericardial fat pad from pathology other than a lipoma

At times they are large enough to simulate pathology and can be mistaken for:

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