n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Surgical management of effusive constrictive pericarditis

Volume 24, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 1995-1892
  • E-ISSN: 1680-0745



The surgical approach for effusive constrictive pericarditis (ECP) has not been extensively studied. We present our institution's early and long-term results of pericardiectomy in our cohort of patients with ECP.

Diagnosis was made primarily by echocardiography. Right heart catheterisation was performed in eight patients. Pre-operatively, 10 patients had undergone at least one previous attempt at therapeutic pericardiocentesis. Pericardiectomy was performed where appropriate (thickened or inflamed).
Of our 12 patients (50% male, median age 48 years, range 17-72 years), the underlying aetiology included idiopathic in five (41.6%), tuberculosis in four (33%), and malignancy in three patients (25%). Elective surgery was performed in nine patients. Median values of both central venous pressure and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure decreased markedly postoperatively (from 16.5 to 11.0 mmHg, = 0.02; 20.0-15.0 mmHg, = 0.01, respectively). There was no in-hospital mortality. Follow up ranged from three months to nine years (median three years). Five (41.6%) patients died during the follow-up period, and cumulative two-year survival was 55.6 ± 1.5%.
Pericardiectomy for ECP was effective, in terms of our early results, in patients unresponsive to medical therapy. Long-term survival depends on the underlying disease.

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