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Minerva Cardiology and Angiology 2021 Aug 02

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5683.21.05721-5

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Pericarditis and pericardial effusion: one or two distinct diseases?

George LAZAROS , Emilia LAZAROU, Charalambos VLACHOPOULOS, Alexios ANTONOPOULOS, Konstantinos TSIOUFIS

First Cardiology Clinic, School of Medicine, Hippokration General Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece


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The main pericardial syndromes include acute and recurrent pericarditis, constrictive pericarditis and chronic pericardial effusion in the absence of overt inflammation. Despite recent advances in pericardial syndromes, certain clinical scenarios depict remarkable peculiarities and their management is often challenging for the clinician. Acute pericarditis is the most common pericardial disease and in most instances is accompanied by pericardial effusion. On the other hand, pericardial effusion may appear as a separate clinical entity occasionally characterized by absence of inflammatory markers elevation. In cases that effusions are accompanied by C-reactive protein (CRP) elevation, the administration of empiric anti-inflammatory treatment as in acute pericarditis, is the guidelines recommended approach. Conversely, the optimal management of patients with pericardial effusions in the absence of clinical or subclinical inflammation (as depicted by CRP levels and cardiac magnetic resonance findings), is not supported by solid evidence. Patients with chronic pericardial effusions should be followed in specialized centers according to tailored timelines, based on the specific clinical scenarios which should take into account etiology, effusion size, disease duration and stability as regards symptoms and effusion volume. Patients should also be advised to seek medical care at any time if symptoms like chest pain, dyspnea and fatigue should appear.


KEY WORDS: Acute pericarditis, pericardial effusion; Cardiac tamponade; Inflammation; Pericardiocentesis; Outcome

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