Though the pericardium anatomically and physiologically constitutes a relatively unimportant structure, its strategic location when diseased gives it marked pathological significance, and, since 1913, when Rehn demonstrated that the chronically diseased pericardium could be successfully removed surgically, the importance of recognizing its involvement by disease has become paramount. Unfortunately, many persons suffering from serious pericardial pathology are mistakenly thought to have predominantly myocardial rather than pericardial involvement, and thus lose the opportunity to obtain the cure or near-cure offered by modern medical science. Similarly, the heart hampered by chronic pericardial effusion is often misdiagnosed, with consequent misfortune for the patient.
There has been a long-term need for a book which summarizes the existing knowledge of the diseases of this strategic sac. Dr. Spodik's present volume is a supplement to one published in 1959 dealing with acute pericarditis. In each there has been presented an excellent review of a voluminous literature,