Successful Visceral and Parietal Pericardiectomy for Refractory Effusive-Constrictive Pericarditis: A Challenging Case Report

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Background: Effusive-constrictive pericarditis (ECP) is an uncommon clinical syndrome characterized by the coexistence of pericardial effusion and constriction involving the visceral pericardium. This differs from constrictive pericarditis, which presents with thickening of the pericardium without effusions. Specific diagnostic criteria of ECP include the failure of right atrial pressure to decrease by 50% or reach a new level below 10 mmHg after normalization of intrapericardial pressure. Case Report: We present the case of a 32-year-old obese man with multiple comorbidities who initially presented with flu-like symptoms and pleural effusion with development of constrictive-like symptoms. Despite undergoing numerous pericardiocentesis and appropriate medical management, the patient’s condition failed to improve, leading to the likely diagnosis of effusive-constrictive pericarditis. Cultures of pericardial fluid revealed E. faecium, which required multiple antimicrobial therapy. Despite infection, the exact etiology of ECP remained unknown and likely idiopathic. Common causes of ECP include idiopathic, tuberculosis, cardiac surgery complications, radiation, or neoplasia. Ultimately, the patient underwent a pericardiectomy involving the visceral and parietal pericardium, resulting in hemodynamic stability and resolution of symptoms. Conclusions: This case highlights the challenges in diagnosing and managing ECP, emphasizing the importance of considering surgical intervention in refractory cases. ECP initially presents as a pericardial effusion, often addressed through pericardiocentesis; however, in a small subset of patients, sustained symptoms and altered hemodynamics persist following pericardiocentesis, necessitating further evaluation and management. The success of pericardiectomy in our patient highlights the potential efficacy of surgical intervention in improving outcomes for patients with ECP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere943979
JournalAmerican Journal of Case Reports
StatePublished - 2024


  • Heart Diseases
  • Thoracic Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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