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September 1965

Congenital Absence of the Left Pericardium

Author Affiliations

From the departments of Pediatrics, Radiology, and Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Babies Hospital, and Presbyterian Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1965;110(3):309-314. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1965.02090030323017

THE ISOLATED ANOMALY of congenital absence of the left side of the pericardium produces a characteristically deformed cardiac silhouette on chest roentgenogram. The radiographic features of this malformation were first described by Ellis et al in their excellent review of the subject in 1959.1

It is the purpose of this paper to report the case of a child with absent left pericardium in whom the diagnosis was first suspected on films of the chest. The technique of induction of left pneumothorax to establish the diagnosis is illustrated.

Anatomical and Functional Considerations  Congenital pericardial defects may be partial (so called foramen type) or complete (involving the left, right, or both sides). They are most frequently left sided and range in size from small holes overlying the pulmonary artery or left atrium to absence of the entire left pericardium. Among the reported cases in the literature, complete defects are more common