Pronunciation: per'i-kar'de-um, -a
Definition: The fibroserous membrane, consisting of mesothelium and submesothelial connective tissue, covering the heart and beginning of the great vessels. It is a closed sac having two layers: the visceral layer (epicardium), immediately surrounding and applied to all the heart's surfaces, and the outer parietal layer, forming the sac, composed of strong fibrous tissue (fibrous pericardium [TA]) lined with a serous membrane (serous pericardium [TA]). The phrenic nerves pass to the diaphragm through the anterior pericardium and divide the pericardium into antephrenic and retrophrenic portions; the pulmonary hilum divides both of these portions into suprahilar, hilar, and infrahilar portions.
[L. fr. G. pericardion, the membrane around the heart]
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