Pericardial ligaments

Dr Craig Hacking et al.

The pericardial ligaments is a name given to a group of variable fibrous ligaments or adhesions that connect the pericardium to adjacent structures. These ‘ligaments’ tether the fibrous pericardium to it's surrounds, hence movements of the chest wall and diaphragm  influence the position of the heart and pericardium in the mediastinum.

There are 2 main ligaments described in standard texts with differing importance:

  • pericardiophrenic ligaments: these are strong adhesions where the floor of the fibrous pericardium is firmly attached (and some authors say blended with) the central tendon of the diaphragm.
  • sternopericardial ligaments: these are weak adhesion that are variably present that connect the anterior fibrous pericardium to the posterior surface of the upper and lower sternum.

The fibrous pericardium also blends with the tunica adventitia of the ascending aorta, pulmonary trunk and superior vena cava in the superior mediastinum. There are also un-named adhesions that loosely fix the fibrous pericardium to the posterior mediastinum.

Thoracic anatomy
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Article information

rID: 54168
System: Cardiac
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • pericardiophrenic ligaments
  • pericardiophrenic ligament
  • sternopericardial ligaments
  • sternopericardial ligament

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