Surgical treatment of constrictive pericarditis: analysis of outcome and diagnostic error. Circulation Seifert, F. C., Miller, D. C., Oesterle, S. N., Oyer, P. E., Stinson, E. B., Shumway, N. E. 1985; 72 (3): II264-73


The records of 81 patients with a diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis who underwent surgical treatment were examined to assess the effectiveness of diagnosis and therapy. A false-positive diagnosis occurred in 10 patients (12%); seven had restrictive cardiomyopathy. Of 51 variables examined, only a low right ventricular end-diastolic pressure (RVEDP) significantly and independently predicted diagnostic error. Seventy-one patients with constrictive pericarditis underwent pericardiectomy. Mean follow-up was 4.7 years (maximum 12), and only two patients were untraceable. The study population was notable: 42 patients had visceral as well as parietal pericardial involvement; 32 had idiopathic disease and 25 had pericarditis related to radiation therapy. Results were favorable in 83% of the population. There were seven in-hospital deaths (10%). Actuarial survival estimates were 74% and 64% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Compared with a normal population, the survival rate of patients with postradiation constrictive pericarditis was significantly inferior, whereas the survival rate of the remaining patients was not significantly different. Patients with constrictive pericarditis and restrictive cardiomyopathy did no better than those with restrictive cardiomyopathy alone. Additionally, patients in NYHA functional class IV had a significantly worse prognosis. Multivariate analysis of 38 preoperative variables identified high RVEDP as a significant independent predictor of in-hospital death, and renal dysfunction and diuretic use were significant independent predictors of overall poor outcome. Differentiation between the diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis and restrictive cardiomyopathy remains a problem. Radiation therapy, pericarditis with restrictive cardiomyopathy, high RVEDP, NYHA class IV status, renal dysfunction, and diuretic use adversely influenced outcome in patients undergoing pericardiectomy.

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