Ascites and pericardial fluid may share features on echocardiography but can be distinguished by certain findings.


Causes of an echo-free space about the heart:

(1) pericardial effusion

(2) pericardial cyst

(3) pleural effusion

(4) ascites

Location of Ascites

Distinguishing Feature

anterior to the right ventricle

the presence of the falciform ligament running across the space, best seen on the subdiaphragmatic view on transthoracic echocardiography

below the left ventricle and delimited by an enlarged spleen (posterior)

parasternal short-axis 2-D view


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