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Korean Circ J. 2012 Mar;42(3):143-50. doi: 10.4070/kcj.2012.42.3.143. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Constrictive Pericarditis as a Never Ending Story: What's New?

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  • 1Cardiovascular Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Nowadays, we have a better understanding of the natural history of constrictive pericarditis such as transient constriction. In addition, we have acquired the correct understanding of hemodynamic features that are unique to constrictive pericarditis. This understanding has allowed us to diagnose constrictive pericarditis reliably with Doppler echocardiography and differentiation between constrictive pericarditis and restrictive cardiomyopathy is no longer a clinical challenge. The advent of imaging modalities such as CT or MR is another advance in the diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis. We can accurately measure pericardial thickness and additional information such as the status of coronary artery and the presence of myocardial fibrosis can be obtained. We no longer perform cardiac catheterization for the diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis. However, these advances are useless unless we suspect and undergo work-up for constrictive pericarditis. In constrictive pericarditis, the most important diagnostic tool is clinical suspicion. In a patient with signs and symptoms of increased systemic venous pressure i.e. right sided heart failure, that are disproportionate to pulmonary or left sided heart disease, possibility of constrictive pericarditis should always be included in the differential diagnosis.

KEYWORDS:

Echocardiography, Doppler; Hemodynamics; Pericarditis, constrictive

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