Transudates are most often caused by either congestive heart failure or cirrhosis. Typical fluid analysis results include:
- Physical characteristics—fluid appears clear
- Protein or albumin level—low
- Cell count—few cells are present
Test results can help distinguish between types of pericardial fluid and help diagnose the cause of fluid accumulation.
The initial set of tests performed on a sample of pericardial fluid helps determine whether the fluid is a transudate or exudate. Other less common tests for infectious diseases may be performed.
Those tests may identify pericardial fluid accumulation due to a viral infection, mycobacteria (such as the mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis), or a parasite.