Abdallah R, Atar S. Etiology and characteristics of large symptomatic pericardial effusion in a community hospital in the contemporary era. QJM. 2014 May;107(5):363-8. PMID: 24368855.

QJM. 2014 May;107(5):363-8. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hct255. Epub 2013 Dec 24.

Etiology and characteristics of large symptomatic pericardial effusion in a community hospital in the contemporary era.

Abdallah R(1), Atar S.

Author information:
(1)M.D., Director of Cardiology, Western Galilee Medical Center, 1 Ben Tzvi Blvd., Nahariya 22100, Israel. shaul.atar@gmail.com.

BACKGROUND: The etiology and laboratory characteristics of large symptomatic pericardial effusion (LSPE) in the Western world have evolved over the years, and vary between regions, community and tertiary hospitals.

METHODS: We reviewed data of 86 consecutive patients who underwent pericardiocentesis or pericardial window due to LSPE in a community hospital from 2001 to 2010. The characteristics of the PE including chemistry, hematology, bacteriology, serology and cytology have been analyzed. We correlated the etiologies of PE with age, gender and clinical presentation.

RESULTS: The most frequent etiology of LSPE was idiopathic [36% (77% with a clinical diagnosis of pericarditis)], followed by malignancy (31.4%), ischemic heart disease (16.3%), renal failure (4.6%), trauma (4.6%) and autoimmune disease (4.6%). The average age of all the etiological groups excluding trauma was over 50 years. Laboratory tests did not modify the pre-procedure diagnosis in any of the patients. The most frequent presenting symptom was dyspnea (76.6%). Chest pain was mostly common in patients with idiopathic etiology (58.06%). The most frequent medical condition associated with LSPE was the use of anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs (31.40%), especially aspirin, and in those, the PE tended to be bloody (73%, P = 0.11). Most of the effusions were exudates (70.9%). PE due to renal failure was the largest (1467 ± 1387 ml).

CONCLUSION: The spectrum of etiologies of LSPE in a community hospital in the Western world in the contemporary era is continuously evolving. The most frequent etiology is now idiopathic, followed by malignancy. Routine laboratory testing still rarely modifies the pre-procedure diagnosis.

PMID: 24368855 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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