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1.  Diagnosis and management of pericardial effusion 
World Journal of Cardiology  2011;3(5):135-143.
Pericardial effusion is a common finding in everyday clinical practice. The first challenge to the clinician is to try to establish an etiologic diagnosis. Sometimes, the pericardial effusion can be easily related to a known underlying disease, such as acute myocardial infarction, cardiac surgery, end-stage renal disease or widespread metastatic neoplasm. When no obvious cause is apparent, some clinical findings can be useful to establish a diagnosis of probability. The presence of acute inflammatory signs (chest pain, fever, pericardial friction rub) is predictive for acute idiopathic pericarditis irrespective of the size of the effusion or the presence or absence of tamponade. Severe effusion with absence of inflammatory signs and absence of tamponade is predictive for chronic idiopathic pericardial effusion, and tamponade without inflammatory signs for neoplastic pericardial effusion. Epidemiologic considerations are very important, as in developed countries acute idiopathic pericarditis and idiopathic pericardial effusion are the most common etiologies, but in some underdeveloped geographic areas tuberculous pericarditis is the leading cause of pericardial effusion. The second point is the evaluation of the hemodynamic compromise caused by pericardial fluid. Cardiac tamponade is not an “all or none” phenomenon, but a syndrome with a continuum of severity ranging from an asymptomatic elevation of intrapericardial pressure detectable only through hemodynamic methods to a clinical tamponade recognized by the presence of dyspnea, tachycardia, jugular venous distension, pulsus paradoxus and in the more severe cases arterial hypotension and shock. In the middle, echocardiographic tamponade is recognized by the presence of cardiac chamber collapses and characteristic alterations in respiratory variations of mitral and tricuspid flow. Medical treatment of pericardial effusion is mainly dictated by the presence of inflammatory signs and by the underlying disease if present. Pericardial drainage is mandatory when clinical tamponade is present. In the absence of clinical tamponade, examination of the pericardial fluid is indicated when there is a clinical suspicion of purulent pericarditis and in patients with underlying neoplasia. Patients with chronic massive idiopathic pericardial effusion should also be submitted to pericardial drainage because of the risk of developing unexpected tamponade. The selection of the pericardial drainage procedure depends on the etiology of the effusion. Simple pericardiocentesis is usually sufficient in patients with acute idiopathic or viral pericarditis. Purulent pericarditis should be drained surgically, usually through subxiphoid pericardiotomy. Neoplastic pericardial effusion constitutes a more difficult challenge because reaccumulation of pericardial fluid is a concern. The therapeutic possibilities include extended indwelling pericardial catheter, percutaneous pericardiostomy and intrapericardial instillation of antineoplastic and sclerosing agents. Massive chronic idiopathic pericardial effusions do not respond to medical treatment and tend to recur after pericardiocentesis, so wide anterior pericardiectomy is finally necessary in many cases.
PMCID: PMC3110902  PMID: 21666814
Pericardial effusion; Etiology; Diagnosis; Therapy
2.  Risk factors affecting the survival rate in patients with symptomatic pericardial effusion undergoing surgical intervention 
The optimal management and treatment of pericardial effusion are still controversial. There is limited data related to the risk factors affecting survival in these patients. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors affecting the survival rate of patients with symptomatic pericardial effusion who underwent surgical interventions.
From 2004 to 2011, we retrospectively analysed 153 patients who underwent subxiphoid pericardial window as their surgical intervention to drain pericardial effusions at the National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung diseases (NRITLD). To determine the effects of risk factors on survival rate, demographic data, clinical records, echocardiographic data, computed tomographic and cytopathological findings and also operative information of patients were recorded. Patients were followed annually until the last clinical follow-up (August 2011). To determine the prognostic factors affecting survival, both univariate analysis and multivariate Cox proportional hazards model were utilized.
There were 89 men and 64 women with a mean age of 50.3 ± 15.5 years. The most prevalent symptom was dyspnoea. Concurrent malignancies were present in 66 patients. Lungs were the most prevalent primary site for malignancy. The median duration of follow-up was 15 (range 1–85 months). Six-month, 1-year and 18-month survival rates were 85.6, 61.4 and 36.6%, respectively. In a multivariate analysis, positive history of lung cancer (hazard ratio [HR] 2.894, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.362–6.147, P = 0.006) or other organ cancers (HR 2.315, 95% CI 1.009–50311, P = 0.048), presence of a mass in the computed tomography (HR 1.985, 95% CI 1.100–3.581, P = 0.023), and echocardiographic findings compatible with tamponade (HR 1.745, 95% CI 1.048–2.90 P = 0.032) were the three independent predictors of postoperative death.
In the surgical management of pericardial effusion, patients with underlying malignant disease, especially with lung cancer, patients with a detectable invasion of thorax in computed tomography and those with positive echocardiographic findings compatible with tamponade have a poor survival. Therefore, minimally invasive therapies could be considered as a more acceptable alternative for these high-risk patients.
PMCID: PMC3598022  PMID: 23250960
Pericardial effusion; Prognosis; Risk factors; Survival rate; Subxiphoid pericardial window
3.  A Patient with Recurrent Breast Cancer Showing Long-Term Survival after Developing Pericardial Effusion and Cardiac Tamponade Caused by Carcinomatous Pericarditis 
Breast Care  2013;8(1):71-73.
Malignant pericardial effusion caused by carcinomatous pericarditis is a complication of advanced malignancy. Breast cancer is the second most important cause of malignant pericardial effusion. Malignant pericardial effusion is the end stage of breast cancer, and the prognosis is very poor. Pericardial effusion may cause cardiac tamponade and sudden death if it is not controlled properly. There is a debate on which is the best method to control pericardial effusion.
Case Report
We describe the clinical course of a 55-year-old woman with recurrent breast cancer, pericardial effusion, and cardiac tamponade caused by carcinomatous pericarditis. Thoracoscopic pericardial window was performed to control the pericardial effusion. The patient survived for about 5 years after being diagnosed with pericardial metastases.
The observed long-term survival in such a patient with the development of pericardial effusions and cardiac tamponade caused by carcinomatous pericarditis attributable to breast cancer is rare. Thoracoscopic pericardial window was effective in controlling the pericardial effusion.
PMCID: PMC3971803  PMID: 24715847
Breast cancer; Carcinomatous pericarditis; Pericardial effusion; Cardiac tamponade; Thoracoscopic pericardial window
4.  Pulmonary Hypertension Complicated by Pericardial Effusion: A Single Center Experience 
Pericardial effusion is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, the management and outcomes of patients with pulmonary hypertension and pericardial effusion are not well described.
A retrospective observational study was conducted at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital by screening all patients admitted between June 1, 2005 and June 1, 2010 with the ICD-9 codes for pulmonary hypertension and pericardial effusion. 138 patients with pericardial effusion were identified, and 103 patients were excluded if they had valvular heart disease, recent surgery or end stage renal disease. Thirty-five patients with PH diagnosed by a historical right heart catheterization or echocardiography and with documented pericardial effusion were included in this analysis. Demographic, hemodynamic, laboratory and survival data was collected.
The mean age was 49.5±36 years (mean ± SD), 31 of 35 patients were females (93%) and pulmonary artery systolic pressure was 77±19 mm Hg. Mean follow-up period was 20.5±12.9 months. Fifteen patients had PAH associated with connective tissue disease (50%). Majority of the patients (87%) with pericardial effusion were managed conservatively. Four patients (13%) who were hemodynamically unstable underwent pericardial window placement. One of them was started on epoprostenol and two patients had the doses of PAH-specific medications uptitrated. Three of four pericardial window patients survived to the conclusion of the follow-up period. The overall survival in our cohort was 60% with three patients lost to follow-up.
Connective tissue disease-associated PAH and female gender were predominant in our cohort of patients with pericardial effusion. Seventy-five percent of patients who were treated with pericardial window for hemodynamically unstable pericardial effusion survived till the end of the study period. Pericardial window may be a therapeutic option in unstable PH patients with pericardial effusion. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal treatment strategy for such patients.
PMCID: PMC3677714  PMID: 23258502
pulmonary arterial hypertension; pericardial effusion; right heart failure; echocardiogram
5.  Cervical adenocarcinoma presenting as a cardiac tamponade in a 57-year-old woman: a case report 
Pericardial effusion as a complication of malignant gynecological disorders is rare. Few cases of endometrial cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, ovarian cancer and uterine carcinosarcoma have been previously reported. We report the first case of cardiac tamponade secondary to a cervical adenocarcinoma.
Case presentation
A 54-year-old Caucasian woman, without any relevant medical history and no gynecological aftercare, was admitted to our hospital emergency room with severe dyspnea. Echocardiography revealed severe pericardial effusion with a swinging heart. An emergency pericardial drainage was performed through a pericardial window, which permitted the draining of 700 mL of bloody fluid and a pericardial biopsy. Cytological examination of the fluid revealed atypical cells, and the biopsy specimen showed tumor emboli suggestive of adenocarcinoma. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a 35 mm cervical lesion indicative of an endocervical tumor. Exploratory laparoscopy revealed diffuse peritoneal lesions and histological examination of cervical curettage showed a poorly differentiated micropapillary adenocarcinoma of the cervix.
Carcinomatous pericarditis as the first symptom of a malignant gynecological adenocarcinoma has not, to the best of our knowledge, been documented before. This case highlights the extreme severity of pericardial effusion secondary to cervical adenocarcinoma, a sign of advanced disease. Gynecological malignancies have to be considered in cases of neoplastic pericardial effusion.
PMCID: PMC3259127  PMID: 22188664
6.  Controlling malignant pericardial effusion by intrapericardial carboplatin administration in patients with primaryon-small-cell lung cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2000;83(7):858-862.
Malignant pericarditis, when associated with massive pericardial effusion, presents a critical condition in lung cancer patients. Because this condition often arises in terminally ill patients, intensive therapy such as multi-drug combination chemotherapy is rarely appropriate. This study evaluated the clinical relevance of intrapericardial administration of carboplatin for controlling malignant pericardial effusions associated with non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The method used for 10 eligible patients consisted of draining the pericardial effusion and infusing 300 mg/body of carboplatin in 50 ml of saline through an in-place catheter into the pericardial space and clamping the catheter for 40 min. Nine of the 10 patients showed satisfactory results, and 8 experienced complete regression of the effusion. No major or minor adverse effects were observed. Pharmacokinetics analysis revealed that the concentration of free platinum in the pericardial fluid was very high while that of total platinum in the circulating plasma was very low, assuring the usefulness of the intrapericardial instillation of carboplatin in terminally ill patients for controlling malignant pericardial effusion when the systemic delivery of cytotoxic agents is inappropriate. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2374680  PMID: 10970685
cardiac tamponade; pericardial effusion; malignant pericarditis; lung cancer; carboplatin; pharmacokinetics
7.  Prognostic Value of Initial Echocardiographic Features in Patients With Tuberculous Pericarditis 
Korean Circulation Journal  2010;40(8):377-386.
Background and Objectives
Tuberculous (TB) pericarditis is a major cause of constrictive pericarditis requiring pericardiectomy. We sought to determine initial prognostic factors in patients with TB pericarditis.
Subjects and Methods
We evaluated initial presentation and clinical outcomes (mean follow-up 32±27 months) in 60 consecutive patients newly diagnosed with TB pericarditis.
Initial presentations were pericardial effusion (PE), effusive-constrictive pericarditis, and constrictive pericarditis in 45 (75%), 9 (15%), and 6 (10%) patients, respectively. Of the 54 patients without initial constrictive pericarditis, 32 (59%) showed echogenic materials in PE, including frond-like exudative coating and fibrinous strands. These patients had a longer disease duration before diagnosis, were initially more symptomatic, in a more advanced state, showed more persistent pericardial constrictions (38% vs. 0%, p<0.001) despite anti-TB medications, and tended to require pericardiectomy more often (19% vs. 0%, p=0.07, p<0.05 by Kaplan-Meier). All patients with effusive-constrictive pericarditis showed echogenic PE. Of the 60 total patients, 10 (17%) underwent pericardiectomies during follow-up. All of these patients showed initial pericardial constrictions, whereas no patient without initial pericardial constriction underwent pericardiectomy (p<0.001). Seven patients showed transient pericardial constrictions that resolved without pericardiectomy.
Initial pericardial constriction and echogenic PE are poor prognostic signs for persistent pericardial constriction and pericardiectomy in patients with newly diagnosed TB pericarditis. These results suggest that early diagnosis and prompt anti-TB medication may be critical.
PMCID: PMC2933462  PMID: 20830251
Pericarditis; Tuberculosis; Echocardiography; Prognosis
8.  Pericardial effusion in patients with cancer: outcome with contemporary management strategies. 
Heart  1996;75(1):67-71.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the clinical presentation and current management strategies of pericardial effusion in patients with malignancy. DESIGN--Retrospective single centre, consecutive observational study. SETTING--University hospital. PATIENTS--93 consecutive patients with a past or present diagnosis of cancer and a pericardial effusion, including 50 with a pericardial effusion > 1 cm. RESULTS--Of the 50 patients with pericardial effusions > 1 cm, most had stage 4 cancer (64%), were symptomatic at the time of presentation (74%), and had right atrial collapse (74%). Twenty patients were treated conservatively (without pericardiocentesis) and were less symptomatic (55% v 87%, P = 0.012), had smaller pericardial effusions (1.5 (0.4) v 1.8 (0.5), P = 0.02), and less frequent clinical (10% v 40%, P = 0.02) and echocardiographic evidence of tamponade (40% v 97%, P < 0.001) than the 30 patients treated invasively with initial pericardiocentesis (n = 29) or pericardial window placement (n = 1). Pericardial tamponade requiring repeat pericardiocentesis occurred in 18 (62%) of 29 patients after a median of 7 days. In contrast, only four (20%) of 20 patients in the conservative group progressed to frank clinical tamponade and required pericardiocentesis (P = 0.005 v invasive group). The overall median survival was 2 months with a survival rate at 48 months of 26%. Survival, duration of hospital stay, and hospital charges were similar with both strategies. By multivariable analysis, the absence of symptoms was the only independent predictor of long-term survival (relative hazards ratio = 3.2, P = 0.05). Survival was similar in the 43 patients with cancer and pericardial effusions of < or = 1 cm. CONCLUSION--Asymptomatic patients with cancer and pericardial effusion can be managed conservatively with close follow up. In patients with symptoms or clinical cardiac tamponade, pericardiocentesis provides relief of symptoms but does not improve survival and has a high recurrence rate. Surgical pericardial windows or possibly percutaneous balloon pericardiotomy should be used for recurrences and should be considered for initial treatment.
PMCID: PMC484225  PMID: 8624876
9.  Pericardial effusion of HIV-infected patients - results of a prospective multicenter cohort study in the era of antiretroviral therapy 
Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Previous publications described pericardial effusion as one of the most common HlV-associated cardiac affiliations. The aim of the current study was to investigate if pericardial effusion still has a relevant meaning of HIV-infected patients in the era of antiretroviral therapy.
The HIV-HEART (HIV-infection and HEART disease) study is a cardiology driven, prospective and multicenter cohort study. Outpatients with a known HIV-infection were recruited during a 20 month period in a consecutive manner from September 2004 to May 2006. The study comprehends classic parameters of HIV-infection, comprising CD4-cell count (cluster of differentiation) and virus load, as well as non-invasive tests of cardiac diseases, including a thorough transthoracic echocardiography.
802 HIV-infected patients (female: 16.6%) with a mean age of 44.2 ± 10.3 years, were included. Duration of HIV-infection since initial diagnosis was 7.6 ± 5.8 years. Of all participants, 85.2% received antiretroviral therapy. Virus load was detectable in 34.4% and CD4 - cell count was in 12.4% less than 200 cells/μL. Pericardial effusions were present in only two patients of the analysed population. None of the participants had signs of a relevant cardiovascular impairment by pericardial effusion.
Our results demonstrate that the era of antiretroviral therapy goes along with low rates of pericardial effusions in HIV-infected outpatients. Our findings are in contrast to the results of publications, performed before the common use of antiretroviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC3351804  PMID: 22027640
pericardial effusion; HIV-infection; AIDS; antiretroviral therapy
10.  Cardiac tamponade mimicking tuberculous pericarditis as the initial presentation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in a 58-year-old woman: a case report 
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is an indolent disease that often presents with complaints of lymphadenopathy or is detected as an incidental laboratory finding. It is rarely considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with tamponade or a large, bloody pericardial effusion. In patients without known cancer, a large, bloody pericardial effusion raises the possibility of tuberculosis, particularly in patients from endemic areas. However, the signs, symptoms and laboratory findings of pericarditis related to chronic lymphocytic leukemia can mimic tuberculosis.
Case Presentation
We report the case of a 58-year-old African American-Nigerian woman with a history of travel to Nigeria and a positive tuberculin skin test who presented with cardiac tamponade. She had a mild fever, lymphocytosis and a bloody pericardial effusion, but cultures and stains were negative for acid-fast bacteria. Assessment of blood by flow cytometry and pericardial biopsy by immunohistochemistry revealed CD5 (+) and CD20 (+) lymphocytes in both tissues, demonstrating this to be an unusual manifestation of early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Although most malignancies that involve the pericardium clinically manifest elsewhere before presenting with tamponade, this case illustrates the potential for early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia to present as a large pericardial effusion with tamponade. Moreover, the presentation mimicked tuberculosis. This case also demonstrates that it is possible to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia-related pericardial tamponade by removal of the fluid without chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2923171  PMID: 20684780
11.  Pericardial Disease: Diagnosis and Management 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2010;85(6):572-593.
Pericardial diseases can present clinically as acute pericarditis, pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, and constrictive pericarditis. Patients can subsequently develop chronic or recurrent pericarditis. Structural abnormalities including congenitally absent pericardium and pericardial cysts are usually asymptomatic and are uncommon. Clinicians are often faced with several diagnostic and management questions relating to the various pericardial syndromes: What are the diagnostic criteria for the vast array of pericardial diseases? Which diagnostic tools should be used? Who requires hospitalization and who can be treated as an outpatient? Which medical management strategies have the best evidence base? When should corticosteroids be used? When should surgical pericardiectomy be considered? To identify relevant literature, we searched PubMed and MEDLINE using the keywords diagnosis, treatment, management, acute pericarditis, relapsing or recurrent pericarditis, pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, constrictive pericarditis, and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Studies were selected on the basis of clinical relevance and the impact on clinical practice. This review represents the currently available evidence and the experiences from the pericardial clinic at our institution to help guide the clinician in answering difficult diagnostic and management questions on pericardial diseases.
PMCID: PMC2878263  PMID: 20511488
12.  Prevalence, Hemodynamics, and Cytokine Profile of Effusive-Constrictive Pericarditis in Patients with Tuberculous Pericardial Effusion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77532.
Effusive constrictive pericarditis (ECP) is visceral constriction in conjunction with compressive pericardial effusion. The prevalence of proven tuberculous ECP is unknown. Whilst ECP is distinguished from effusive disease on hemodynamic grounds, it is unknown whether effusive-constrictive physiology has a distinct cytokine profile. We conducted a prospective study of prevalence and cytokine profile of effusive-constrictive disease in patients with tuberculous pericardial effusion.
From July 2006 through July 2009, the prevalence of ECP and serum and pericardial levels of inflammatory cytokines were determined in adults with tuberculous pericardial effusion. The diagnosis of ECP was made by combined pericardiocentesis and cardiac catheterization.
Of 91 patients evaluated, 68 had tuberculous pericarditis. The 36/68 patients (52.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 41.2-65.4) with ECP were younger (29 versus 37 years, P=0.02), had a higher pre-pericardiocentesis right atrial pressure (17.0 versus 10.0 mmHg, P<0.0001), serum concentration of interleukin-10 (IL-10) (38.5 versus 0.2 pg/ml, P<0.001) and transforming growth factor-beta (121.5 versus 29.1 pg/ml, P=0.02), pericardial concentration of IL-10 (84.7 versus 20.4 pg/ml, P=0.006) and interferon-gamma (2,568.0 versus 906.6 pg/ml, P=0.03) than effusive non-constrictive cases. In multivariable regression analysis, right atrial pressure > 15 mmHg (odds ratio [OR] = 48, 95%CI: 8.7-265; P<0.0001) and IL-10 > 200 pg/ml (OR=10, 95%CI: 1.1, 93; P=0.04) were independently associated with ECP.
Effusive-constrictive disease occurs in half of cases of tuberculous pericardial effusion, and is characterized by greater elevation in the pre-pericardiocentesis right atrial pressure and pericardial and serum IL-10 levels compared to patients with effusive non-constrictive tuberculous pericarditis.
PMCID: PMC3796485  PMID: 24155965
13.  Massive Purulent Pericardial Effusion Presenting as Atrial Fibrillation with Rapid Rate: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Patient: Male, 59
Final Diagnosis: Pleural and pericardial effusion from a Streptococcus pneumonia
Symptoms: Chest pain • chills • cough • fever • shortness of breath
Medication: —
Clinical Procedure: Pericardiocentesis • pericardial window
Specialty: Cardiology
Rare disease
Although pericardial effusion with afib is not rare, the combination of purulent pericardial effusion presenting as afib is not a common occurrence particularly in the developing world. The more common symptoms associated with purulent pericardial effusion are fever, dyspenia, and tachycardia. Without prompt recognition followed by antibiotics and surgical drainage, tamponade, and shock can potentially lead to death.
Case Report:
A 59-year-old male was transferred to our hospital for evaluation of afib with rapid rate associated with cough and dyspenia. He reported fevers, chills, cough and sputum for 1 week. Complaints included chest pain with relief upon lying down. Patient was afebrile with a pulse of 101 and blood pressure of 119/89. WBC 39,200 cells/ml. Chest X-RAY showed right lower lobe pneumonia and EKG revealed afib, rapid ventricular response, and secondary ST changes inferolaterally. Pericardial effusion and thickened pericardium were eveident on echo. Patient was treated for community acquired pneumonia, along with heparin and IV amiodarone. Both sputum cultures and pericardiocentesis revealed S. Pneumoniae. Cardioversion reestablished sinus mechanism. Intially pericardial effusion resolved, but later reaccumulated at which point it was decided to perform a subxiphoid pericardial window. Follow up showed no effusion and patient was asymptomatic.
Purulent pericardial effusion with atrial fibrillation and rapid ventricular rate needs to be recognized promptly. Because friction fub and chest pain are not present in every case, prompt management in the setting of pneumonia and minor hemodynamic derangements can aid in the treatment of this potentially life threating disease.
PMCID: PMC4240216  PMID: 25407956
Atrial Fibrillation; Community Acquired Pneumonia; Purulent Pericardail Effusion
14.  Clinical Characteristics of Malignant Pericardial Effusion Associated with Recurrence and Survival 
We evaluated clinical outcomes after drainage for malignant pericardial effusion with imminent or overt tamponade.
Materials and Methods
Between August 2001 and June 2007, 100 patients underwent pericardiocentesis for malignant pericardial effusion. Adequate follow-up information on the recurrence of pericardial effusion and survival status was available for 98 patients.
Recurrence of effusion occurred in 30 patients (31%), all of whom were diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. Multivariate analysis indicated that adenocarcinoma of the lung (hazard ratio [HR], 6.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9 to 22.3; p=0.003) and progressive disease despite chemotherapy (HR, 4.3; 95% CI, 1.6 to 12.0; p=0.005) were independent predictors of recurrence. Survival rates three months after pericardiocentesis differed significantly with the type of primary cancer; the rates were 73%, 18%, 90% and 30% in patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung, squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, breast cancer and other cancers, respectively.
Recurrence and survival of patients with malignant pericardial effusion are dependent on the type of primary cancer and response to chemotherapy. Patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung may be good candidates for surgical drainage to avoid repeated pericardiocentesis, but pericardiocentesis is considered effective as palliative management in patients with other cancers.
PMCID: PMC3021740  PMID: 21253323
Neoplasms; Pericardial effusion; Pericardiocentesis; Prognosis
15.  Pericardial effusion after open heart surgery for congenital heart disease 
Heart  2003;89(7):780-783.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and time course of pericardial effusion after open heart surgery for congenital heart diseases and to identify predisposing risk factors.
Design and patients: Prospective assessment of development of pericardial effusion in 336 patients (163 males) undergoing open heart surgery for congenital heart disease by serial echocardiography on days 5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 postoperatively.
Setting: Tertiary paediatric cardiac centre.
Results: The prevalence of pericardial effusion was 23% (77 of 336). Of the 77 patients who developed effusion, 43 (56%) had moderate to large effusions and 18 (23%) were symptomatic. Patients who had a large amount of effusion were more likely to be symptomatic than those with only a small to moderate amount (47.4% v 15.5%, p = 0.01). The mean (SD) onset of pericardial effusion was 11 (7) days after surgery, with 97% (75 of 77) of cases being diagnosed on or before day 28 after surgery. The prevalence of effusion after Fontan-type procedures (60%, 6 of 10) was significantly higher than that after other types of cardiac surgery: repair of left to right shunts (22.1%, 43 of 195), repair of lesions with right ventricular outflow tract obstruction (22.6%, 19 of 84), arterial switch operation (6.7%, 1 of 15), and miscellaneous procedures (25%, 8 of 32) (p = 0.037). Univariate analyses showed that female patients (p = 0.009) and those receiving warfarin (p = 0.002) had increased risk of postoperative pericardial effusion. A greater pericardial drain output in the first four hours after surgery also tended to be significant (p = 0.056). Multivariate logistic regression similarly identified warfarin treatment (β = 1.73, p = 0.009) and female sex (β for male = −0.63, p = 0.037) as significant determinants.
Conclusions: Pericardial effusion occurs commonly after open heart surgery for congenital heart disease. Serial echocardiographic monitoring up to 28 days postoperatively is indicated in selected high risk patients such as those with symptoms of postpericardiotomy syndrome and those given warfarin.
PMCID: PMC1767733  PMID: 12807856
pericardial effusion; congenital heart disease; surgery
16.  Prognostic factors affecting survival of patients with cancer-related pericardial effusion managed by surgery 
Although pericardial effusion (PE) is not uncommon in patients with cancer, it may lead to cardiac tamponade, a life-threatening condition. Prompt life-saving treatment is essential, and also allows the continuation of the cancer treatment. The aim of this study was to determine the prognostic factors for survival in patients with cancer who were treated surgically for PE.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 55 patients with cancer with PE between January 2003 and October 2012, who were treated with a pericardial window operation. Overall survival (OS) was estimated from the date of surgery, and patients were followed until the time of the final visit or time of death. Clinical outcomes and candidate prognostic factors were analyzed.
The median age of patients was 57 years (range 29 to 82 years), and 31 patients (56.4%) were male. The most common primary malignancy was lung cancer (65.5%), followed by breast cancer (10.9%). Fifteen patients (27.3%) developed recurrence of PE after surgery. The median OS duration was 4 months (range 0 to 39 months). Multivariate analysis found that evidence of pericardial metastasis on preoperative imaging (P = 0.029) and confirmation of malignant cells in the PE and/or pericardial tissue (P = 0.034) were associated with reduced OS.
Evidence of pericardial metastasis on preoperative imaging and cytopathologic confirmation that the PE and/or pericardial tissue are positive for malignant cells can be used to predict poor clinical outcomes in patients with cancer-related PE.
PMCID: PMC4237959  PMID: 25091001
Pericardial effusion; Cancer; Pericardial window
17.  Cardiac metastasis from gallbladder carcinoma☆ 
Primary gallbladder carcinoma is a rare aggressive neoplasm of elderly with poor prognosis. The tumour is often unresectable at the time of diagnosis. Metastasis to heart is rare and only 6 cases have been reported in the indexed literature. We herein report a case of gallbladder carcinoma metastasizing to heart.
A 54 year old female presented with dyspnoea and chest pain with past history of radical cholecystectomy and palliative chemotherapy for adenocarcinoma of gallbladder. Chest X-ray showed cardiomegaly and 2-D ECHO revealed features of tumour deposits on the surface of myocardium and malignant pericardial effusion. Mini-thoracotomy and pericardial window procedure was done to relieve distressing symptoms and biopsy of pericardial tissue revealed metastatic adenocarcinoma. In spite of intensive care, patient succumbed to disease in the post-operative period.
Primary adenocarcinoma of gallbladder is the most common malignancy of biliary tract and fifth most common malignancy of gastro-intestinal system with dismal prognosis. It most commonly spreads to liver and regional lymph nodes, very rarely distant metastasis occurs to kidney, adrenal, thyroid and bones as reported in the literature. Metastasis to heart presents with symptoms of cardiac failure due to pericardial effusion. Even with intensive care patients will invariably succumb to the disease.
Metastatic spread to heart from carcinoma of gallbladder is very rare. Should a patient be suspected of or an operated case of gallbladder carcinoma present with symptoms of congestive heart failure and massive pericardial effusion, cardiac metastasis should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3860051  PMID: 24291682
Cardiac metastasis; Gallbladder carcinoma; Malignant pericardial effusion
18.  Hypothyroidism in a five-year-old boy with rhabdomyolysis and recent history of cardiac tamponade: a case report 
Cardiac tamponade is a rare manifestation of hypothyroidism, and a less rare cause of pericardial effusion. The accumulation of the pericardial fluid is gradual, and often does not compromise cardiac hemodynamic function. There is a relationship between the severity and chronicity of the disease with the presence of pericardial effusion. There are few cases describing associated pericardial tamponade published in the literature. When a tamponade occurs, a concomitant provocative factor such as a viral pericarditis may be related. Our patient's case appears to be the youngest patient described so far.
Case presentation
We report the case of a previously healthy five-year-old Hispanic (non-indigenous) boy who developed rhabdomyolysis with a history of a recent pericardial effusion and tamponade two months before that required the placement of a percutaneous pericardial drainage. Pericardial effusion was considered to be viral. Later on readmission, clinical primary hypothyroidism was diagnosed and thought to be associated with the previous cardiac tamponade. He developed rhabdomyolysis, which was considered to be autoimmune and was treated with steroids. The level of creatine phosphate kinase and creatine kinase MB fraction returned to within the reference rangeone week after our patient was started on steroids and three weeks after he was started on thyroid hormones.
Physicians should consider hypothyroidism as a differential diagnosis in patients with pericardial effusion. Pericardial effusion may progress and cause a cardiac tamponade with hemodynamic instability. The fact that our patient did not have any manifestations of hypothyroidism might have delayed diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3205072  PMID: 21985770
19.  Pericardial effusions in patients with end-stage renal disease. 
British Heart Journal  1978;40(2):190-193.
Echocardiography has greatly increased the accurate recognition of pericardial effusion. Echocardiograms were performed prospectively on the total group of 35 stable asymptomatic patients on chronic haemodialysis to determine the incidence of pericardial effusion. Effusions were shown in 11 per cent (4/35); only 6 per cent (2/35) were estimated as greater than 100 ml. For comparison, records were reviewed retrospectively from 41 haemodialysis patients referred during a 27-month period for echocardiographic assessment of suspected pericardial effusion. These 41 patients came from a total group of 108 patients treated with chronic dialysis over this interval. Of 41 examined, 21 (51%) or 21 of 108 (19%) of the population at risk had an effusion. Of 21 with echocardiographic effusions, 15 (71%), or 15 of 41 (37%) of those with clinically suspected effusion, had more than 100 ml fluid. Gross (greater than 100 ml) pericardial effusions are infrequent in stable, asymptomatic patients with end-stage renal disease. When clinical findings suggest pericardial disease, the echocardiographic demonstration of over 100 ml pericardial fluid is indicative of new effusion, rather than coincidental pre-existing effusion.
PMCID: PMC482796  PMID: 637968
20.  Presentation pattern and management of effusive–constrictive pericarditis in Ibadan 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2012;23(4):206-211.
Effusive–constrictive pericarditis is a syndrome in which constriction by the visceral pericardium occurs in the presence of a dense effusion in a free pericardial space. Treatment of this disease is problematic because pericardiocentesis does not relieve the impaired filling of the heart and surgical removal of the visceral pericardium is challenging. We sought to provide further information by addressing the evolution and clinico-pathological pattern, and optimal surgical management of this disease.
We conducted a prospective review of a consecutive series of five patients managed in the cardiothoracic surgery unit of University College Hospital, Ibadan, in the previous year, along with a general overview of other cases managed over a seven-year period. This was followed by an extensive literature review with a special focus on Africa.
The diagnosis of effusive–constrictive pericarditis was established on the basis of clinical findings of features of pericardial disease with evidence of pericardial effusion, and echocardiographic finding of constrictive physiology with or without radiological evidence of pericardial calcification. A review of our surgical records over the previous seven years revealed a prevalence of 13% among patients with pericardial disease of any type (11/86), 22% of patients presenting with effusive pericardial disease (11/50) and 35% who had had pericardiectomy for constrictive pericarditis (11/31). All five cases in this series were confirmed by a clinical scenario of non-resolving cardiac impairment despite adequate open pericardial drainage. They all improved following pericardiectomy.
Effusive–constrictive pericarditis as a subset of pericardial disease deserves closer study and individualisation of treatment. Evaluating patients suspected of having the disease affords clinicians the opportunity to integrate clinical features and non-invasive investigations with or without findings at pericardiostomy, to derive a management plan tailored to each patient. The limited number of patients in this series called for caution in generalisation. Hence our aim was to increase the sensitivity of others to issues raised and help spur on further collaborative studies to lay down guidelines with an African perspective.
PMCID: PMC3721937  PMID: 22614665
pericarditis; effusive; constrictive; Ibadan; African
21.  Pericardial Effusion and Pericardiocentesis: Role of Echocardiography 
Korean Circulation Journal  2012;42(11):725-734.
Pericardial effusion can develop from any pericardial disease, including pericarditis and several systemic disorders, such as malignancies, pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic renal failure, thyroid diseases, and autoimmune diseases. The causes of large pericardial effusion requiring invasive pericardiocentesis may vary according to the time, country, and hospital. Transthoracic echocardiography is the most important tool for diagnosis, grading, the pericardiocentesis procedure, and follow up of pericardial effusion. Cardiac tamponade is a kind of cardiogenic shock and medical emergency. Clinicians should understand the tamponade physiology, especially because it can develop without large pericardial effusion. In addition, clinicians should correlate the echocardiographic findings of tamponade, such as right ventricular collapse, right atrial collapse, and respiratory variation of mitral and tricuspid flow, with clinical signs of clinical tamponade, such as hypotension or pulsus paradoxus. Percutaneous pericardiocentesis has been the most useful procedure in many cases of large pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, or pericardial effusion of unknown etiology. The procedure should be performed with the guidance of echocardiography.
PMCID: PMC3518705  PMID: 23236323
Pericardial effusions; Echocardiography; Cardiac tamponade; Pericardiocentesis
22.  Survival post surgery for malignant pericardial effusion 
Clinics and Practice  2011;1(2):e38.
The study reviews the survival of patients with malignant pericardial effusion treated with a subxiphoid pericardial window. The medical records of 60 consecutive patients diagnosed with a malignant pericardial effusion and treated with a subxiphoid pericardial window between 1994 and 2008 were reviewed. 72% had lung cancer. Overall 30-day mortality was 31%. Survival rates at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years were 45%, 28%, 17%, and 9%, respectively. Overall median survival was 2.6 months.
Patients with malignant pericardial effusion, especially those with primary lung cancer have poor survival rates. In advanced malignancy, the subxiphoid pericardial window procedure provides only short-term palliation of symptoms, and has no effect on long-term survival. The use of any surgical procedure in patients with malignant advanced pericardial effusion should be considered along with non-surgical options on a case-by-case basis depending on symptoms, general status, and expected survival.
PMCID: PMC3981241  PMID: 24765299
pericardial effusion; malignant disease; subxiphoid window.
23.  Management of pericardial effusion by drainage: a survey of 10 years' experience in a city centre general hospital serving a multiracial population 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2000;76(902):809-813.
The aim of the study was to determine the aetiology of large and symptomatic pericardial effusions and to review the management and subsequent outcome. A survey was done on a consecutive cases of patients who had undergone percutaneous pericardiocentesis over a 10 year period in a city centre general hospital serving a multiethnic catchment population. In all, 46 patients (24 male, 22 female; age range 16 to 90 years, mean 54 years) underwent a total of 51 pericardial drainage procedures (or attempted pericardiocentesis) between 1989 and 1998. Malignancy (44%), tuberculosis (26%), idiopathic (11%), and post-cardiac surgery (9%) were the most common causes of pericardial effusion. The most common presenting symptoms were breathlessness (90%), chest pain (74%), cough (70%), abdominal pain (61%) (presumed to be related to hepatic congestion), and unexplained fever (28%). In the 12 cases of tuberculous pericarditis, nine occurred in patients of Indo-Asian origin, and three in patients of Afro-Caribbean origin. Fever, night sweats, and weight loss were common among these patients, occurring in over 80% of cases of tuberculous pericarditis. Pulsus paradoxus was the most specific sign (100%) for the presence of echocardiographic features of tamponade, with strongest positive predictive value (100%). Although malignancy remains the most common cause in developed countries, tuberculous disease should be considered in patients from areas where tuberculosis is endemic. Percutaneous pericardiocentesis remains an effective measure for the immediate relief of symptoms in patients with cardiac tamponade, although its diagnostic yield in tuberculous pericarditis is relatively low.

Keywords: tuberculosis; pericardial effusions; percutaneous pericardiocentesis
PMCID: PMC1741828  PMID: 11085787
24.  Cytokines in Pericardial Effusion of Patients with Inflammatory Pericardial Disease 
Mediators of Inflammation  2012;2012:382082.
Background. The role of inflammatory and angiogenic cytokines in patients with inflammatory pericardial effusion still remains uncertain. Methods. We assessed pericardial and serum levels of VEGF, bFGF, IL-1β and TNF-α by ELISA in patients with inflammatory pericardial effusion (PE) of autoreactive (n = 22) and viral (n = 11) origin, and for control in pericardial fluid (PF) and serum (n = 26) of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Results. VEGF levels were significantly higher in patients with autoreactive and viral PE than in patients with CAD in both PE (P = 0, 006 for autoreactive and P < 0, 001 for viral PE) and serum (P < 0, 001 for autoreactive and P < 0, 001 for viral PE). Pericardial bFGF levels were higher compared to serum levels in patients with inflammatory PE and patients with CAD (P ≤ 0, 001 for CAD; P ≤ 0, 001 for autoreactive PE; P = 0, 005 for viral PE). Pericardial VEGF levels correlated positively with markers of pericardial inflammation, whereas pericardial bFGF levels showed a negative correlation. IL-1β and TNF-α were detectable only in few PE and serum samples. Conclusions. VEGF and bFGF levels in pericardial effusion are elevated in patients with inflammatory PE. It is thus possible that VEGF and bFGF participate in the pathogenesis of inflammatory pericardial disease.
PMCID: PMC3337692  PMID: 22577248
25.  Pericardiocentesis with cisplatin for malignant pericardial effusion and tamponade 
AIM: To evaluate the role and outcome of pericardiocentesis with intrapericardial cisplatin instillation for malignant pericardial effusion resulting from esophageal cancer.
METHODS: We retrospectively studied 7 patients who underwent pericardiocentesis with intrapericardial cisplatin instillation for malignant pericardial effusion resulting from esophageal cancer. After pericardiocentesis, we performed catheterization of the pericardial space under ultrasonogram guidance. Malignant etiology of the pericardial fluid was confirmed by cytological examination. Subsequently, cisplatin (10 mg in 20 mL normal saline) was instilled into the pericardial space.
RESULTS: The mean total volume of the aspirated effusion fluid was 782 ± 264 mL (range, 400-1200 mL). The drainage catheter was successfully removed in all patients, and the mean duration of pericardial drainage was 7.7 ± 2.7 d (range, 5-13 d). No fluid reaccumulation was observed. Mean survival time was 120 ± 71 d (range, 68-268 d).
CONCLUSION: Pericardiocentesis along with catheter drainage appears to be a safe and effective for pericardial malignant effusion and tamponade, and cisplatin instillation prevents recurrence.
PMCID: PMC2817063  PMID: 20135723
Malignant pericardial effusion; Cardiac tamponade; Esophageal cancer; Pericardiocentesis; Cisplatin

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