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Diagnostic Tests

Protein Total Pericardial Fluid

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Protein Total Pericardial Fluid

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What is this test?

Protein Total Pericardial Fluid Test is used to measure total protein in the pericardial fluid (a fluid made in the pericardium). This test helps to differentiate between two types of fluids transudates and exudates.

What is Pericardial Fluid?

The pericardium is a double-layered protective membrane that surrounds the heart. This membrane produces pericardial fluid which acts as a lubricant for the heart movements. It also reduces the friction of the heart while pumping blood. The condition of excess accumulation of this fluid in the pericardium can cause pericarditis (swelling of the pericardium).

An infection, injury or inflammation of the pericardium may cause accumulation of fluid in it. The fluid that builds up, in this case, is known as an exudate. Conditions like autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (pain and swelling of joints), or lupus, infections, metastatic cancer (cancer that spread from one site to another), and lymphoma (a blood cancer that affects white blood cell) can cause this type of fluid. Exudates are cloudy fluid with increased levels of protein and cell count.

The pressure imbalance within the blood vessels results in fluid leakage from blood vessels. The fluid that builds up, in this case, is known as a transudate. Conditions such as congestive heart failure, or liver cirrhosis can cause this type of fluid. Transudates are clear fluid with decreased levels of protein and cell count.

This test helps to determine the type of fluid present based on the protein levels. It is important to identify the possible causes of fluid accumulation and inflammation of the pericardium.

Why this test is performed?

This test is performed to diagnose the conditions or diseases that can cause fluid accumulation in the pericardium and/ or pericarditis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the heart). Your doctor may ask to perform this test if you experience any signs and symptoms of pericarditis such as chills, fever, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, enlarged heart, shortness of breath, cough, muscle pains, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, etc. However, if an infection is suspected a few more additional tests may also be performed to find the exact cause of the infection.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Protein Total Pericardial Fluid. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Protein Total Pericardial Fluid.

No specific preparation is required for this test. However, follow all the instructions given by your healthcare provider.

Understanding your test results

If the test results show high levels of proteins than the normal range in the fluid, it may indicate that the type of fluid is exudate. Conditions that may cause exudates are infections, trauma (injury), autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (pain and swelling of joints), or lupus, metastatic cancer (cancer that spread from one site to another), and lymphoma (a blood cancer that affects white blood cell), etc. However, a few more additional tests may also be performed depending on the suspected cause and typical results to diagnose the exact cause of the condition.

If the test results show low levels of proteins than the normal range in the fluid, it may indicate that the type of fluid is transudate. Conditions such as congestive heart failure, or liver cirrhosis can cause this type of fluid.

If you get abnormal test results, consult with your doctor immediately. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise you appropriate medical treatments or further diagnostic tests.

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groupsThe normal values are reported by the pathologist
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