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Circulation. 1989 Feb;79(2):357-70.

Differentiation of constrictive pericarditis and restrictive cardiomyopathy by Doppler echocardiography.

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Division of Cardiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.


Doppler ultrasound recordings of mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonary flow velocities, and their variation with respiration, were recorded in 12 patients with a restrictive cardiomyopathy and seven patients with constrictive pericarditis. Twenty healthy adults served as controls. The patients with constrictive pericarditis showed marked changes in left ventricular isovolumic relaxation time and in early mitral and tricuspid flow velocities at the onset of inspiration and expiration. These changes disappeared after pericardiectomy and were not seen in patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy or in normal subjects. The deceleration time of early mitral and tricuspid flow velocity was shorter than normal in both groups, indicating an early cessation of ventricular filling, but only patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy showed a further shortening of the tricuspid deceleration time with inspiration. Diastolic mitral and tricuspid regurgitation was also more common in the patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy. These results suggest that patients with constrictive pericarditis and restrictive cardiomyopathy can be differentiated by comparing respiratory changes in transvalvular flow velocities. In addition, although baseline hemodynamics in the two groups were similar, characteristic changes were seen with respiration that suggest differentiation of these disease states may also be possible from hemodynamic data.

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