Pericardial fat necrosis


Epipericardial fat necrosis is a rare self-limiting cause of an acute chest pain in otherwise healthy individuals. It occurs within the mediastinum outside the pericardium.

Patients present with an acute chest pain that may mimic other cardiopulmonary causes. 

The pathogenesis of epipericardial fat necrosis is unknown. 

On imaging, CT in particular:

  • ovoid encapsulated mediastinal (epipericardial) fatty lesion with soft tissue rim and intrinsic and surrounding soft tissue stranding

  • thickened adjacent epicardium

Findings are similar to that observed with epiploic appendagitis and omental torsion in the peritoneal space.

Conservative managment with NSAID and follow-up is usually performed.