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Revista argentina de cardiología

On-line version ISSN 1850-3748


GABE, Eduardo D. et al. Clinical Presentation and Long-Term Outcome of Severe Chronic Idiopathic Pericardial Effusion. Rev. argent. cardiol. [online]. 2007, vol.75, n.1, pp.6-11. ISSN 1850-3748.

Objective To assess the frequency, clinical presentation, diagnostic methods, treatment, outcome and long-term prognosis of patients with severe chronic idiopathic pericardial effusion. Material and Methods All patients in whom severe pericardial effusion was suspected were assessed prospectively from June 1992 to April 2005, using our Institution's protocol for the evaluation of pericardial disease. Of a total of 152 patients, 54 had severe chronic pericardial effusion; in 28 of them (52%) the effusion was categorized as idiopathic and they were hence included in this study. Results Mean age was 67 ± 11 years and 82% were men; 25 (89.3%) were symptomatic due to dyspnea, 4 (16%) had cardiac tamponade and 10 (35.7%) had incipient echocardiographic signs of cardiac tamponade. Mean follow-up was 60 months (3- 128 months). The three asymptomatic patients were not drained and had a favorable outcome (mean follow-up, 42 months). The 25 symptomatic patients were treated with pericardial drainage and 23 were followed (2 patients were lost to follow-up). In 14 patients (60.8%) there was no evidence of recurrent effusion, 3 (13%) had mild effusion, 2 (8.6%) had moderate effusion and 4 (17.2 %) had severe effusion. Of these 4 latter patients, 3 had dyspnea FC III-IV, and thus required pericardiectomy, with a good subsequent outcome. The other patient remained asymptomatic. Conclusions Patients with severe chronic idiopathic pericardial effusion may remain asymptomatic for long periods of time. In most patients who develop severe symptoms, pericardial drainage is effective. In symptomatic patients with recurrence of severe effusion after drainage, pericardiectomy offers an effective solution.

Keywords : Pericardium; Pericarditis; Pericardial Effusion.

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