On the chest radiograph, constrictive pericarditis may be suggested by the presence of pericardial calcification. The calcium may be quite thin and linear and appear as “eggshell calcification” around the margins of the heart (Figure 1 A and B). Care must be taken to differentiate this pattern from the calcifications within the myocardium in old infarcts. The etiology of the pericardial calcifications in constriction is speculative, but it is seen mainly after viral and uremic pericarditis. A second type of pericardial calcification is a shaggy, thick, and amorphous deposition, which historically was rather specific for tuberculosis (Figure 2 A and B). The calcium is particularly obvious in regions of the heart in which normal fat is found, namely in the atrioventricular grooves. Calcium in the atrioventricular region may indent the heart focally, producing “extrinsic” tricuspid and mitral stenoses. However, a calcified pericardium does not necessarily imply that constriction exists.
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