• Vol. 32 No. 6, 832–834
  • 15 November 2003

Giant Pericardial Lipoma: Unusual Cause of Intrathoracic Mass



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Introduction: Pericardial lipomas are rare clinical findings. We describe a case of pericardial/epicardial lipoma seen recently at our hospital.

Clinical Picture: A 68-year-old lady presented with a 1-year history of dull aching upper abdominal pain. A chest X-ray revealed a large mass lesion in the right hemithorax. Computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest defined the nature of the lesion. CT-guided fine needle aspiration cytology showed mature fat cells.

Treatment: The large lipoma (19 x 10 x 4 cm, 1500 g) was completely excised along with a block of the parietal pericardium; through standard right posterolateral thoracotomy.

Outcome: The patient had an uneventful postoperative recovery. She is currently asymptomatic and has no evidence of recurrence at 18 months follow-up.

Conclusion: Lipomas in the thoracic cavity are rare and pericardial lipomas even rarer. These are best identified on imaging studies including a CT scan. Complete surgical excision of the lipoma is the only mode of treatment and adequate surgery the only way to prevent future recurrences.

Cardiac and pericardial lipomas are very rare tumours. They remain asymptomatic for a long time and produce symptoms, if at all, by the virtue of their size.

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