Like hydrothorax, ascites and edema, pericardial effusion is present in decompensated hepatic cirrhosis. In order to evaluate the extent of effusion and to assess whether it is concomitant with left ventricular dysfunction, 21 patients who had been hospitalised for hepatic cirrhosis and ascites were studied following echocardiographic examinations and compared to 21 subjects without signs of cardiopathy. The following findings were statistically significant: the increased presence of pericardial effusion in patients with cirrhosis in comparison to controls, and likewise the higher ejection fraction in the former group. No differences were found between the two groups with regard to the size of the left ventricle. Within the group of patients affected by cirrhosis, the sole statistically significant difference between those patients with pericardial effusion and those without was observed with regard to the telediastolic diameter, which was greater in patients with pericardial effusion. In conclusion, pericardial effusion is common in patients with hepatic cirrhosis and ascites and is not accompanied by left ventricular dysfunction.