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Tex Heart Inst J. 2013;40(5):608-11.

Purulent pericarditis caused by Haemophilus parainfluenzae.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of Cardiovascular Diseases (Drs. Latyshev, Mathew, and Sturm) and Infectious Diseases (Dr. Jacobson), Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102.


Bacterial pericarditis is a rare disease in the era of antibiotics. Purulent pericarditis is most often caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Haemophilus influenzae. The number of H. parainfluenzae infections has been increasing; in rare cases, it has caused endocarditis. We report a case of purulent pericarditis caused by H. parainfluenzae in a 62-year-old woman who reported a recent upper respiratory tract infection. The patient presented with signs and symptoms of pericardial tamponade. Urgent pericardiocentesis restored her hemodynamic stability. However, within 24 hours, fluid reaccumulation led to recurrent pericardial tamponade and necessitated the creation of a pericardial window. Cultures of the first pericardial fluid grew H. parainfluenzae. Levofloxacin therapy was started, and the patient recovered. Haemophilus parainfluenzae should be considered in a patient who has signs and symptoms of purulent pericarditis. Prompt diagnosis, treatment, and antibiotic therapy are necessary for the patient's survival. To our knowledge, this is the first report of purulent pericarditis caused by H. parainfluenzae.


Endocarditis, bacterial/diagnosis/microbiology/pathology; haemophilus infections/diagnosis/drug therapy; haemophilus parainfluenzae; haemophilus/isolation & purification; pericarditis/complications/diagnosis/etiology/microbiology/therapy; suppuration/diagnosis; treatment outcome

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