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Eur Heart J Acute Cardiovasc Care. 2019 Nov 7:2048872619884858. doi: 10.1177/2048872619884858. [Epub ahead of print]

Prognostic relevance of pericardial effusion in STEMI patients treated by primary percutaneous coronary intervention: a 10-year single-centre experience.

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Cardio-thoraco-vascular Department, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
Department of Medical Sciences, Biostatistics Unit, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
Department of Cardiology, Fondazione Toscana G Monasterio, Pisa, Italy.
Department of Cardiology, Azienda per l'Assistenza Sanitaria n 2 Bassa Friulana-Isontina, Gorizia, Italy.
Department of Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology Unit, GVM Care and Research Maria Cecilia Hospital, Ravenna, Italy.



Pericardial effusion is frequent in the acute phase of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. However, its prognostic role in the era of primary percutaneous coronary intervention is not completely understood.


We investigated the association between pericardial effusion, assessed by transthoracic echocardiography, and survival in a large cohort of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction patients treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention, enrolled in the Trieste primary percutaneous coronary intervention registry from January 2007 to March 2017. Multivariable analysis and a propensity score approach were performed.


A total of 1732 ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction patients were included. Median follow-up was 45 (interquartile range 19-79) months. Pericardial effusion was present in 246 patients (14.2%). Thirty-day all-cause mortality was similar between patients with and without pericardial effusion (7.8% vs. 5.4%, P=0.15), whereas crude long-term survival was worse in patients with pericardial effusion (26.2% vs. 17.7%, P≤0.01). However, at multivariable analyses the presence of pericardial effusion was not associated with long-term mortality (hazard ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 0.86-1.82, P=0.22). Matching based on propensity scores confirmed the lack of association between pericardial effusion and both 30-day (hazard ratio 1, 95% confidence interval 0.42-2.36, P=1) and long-term (hazard ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 0.74-1.78, P=0.53) all-cause mortality. Patients with pericardial effusion experienced a higher incidence of free wall rupture (2.8% vs. 0.5%, P<0.0001) independently of the entity of pericardial effusion.


In acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention, the onset of pericardial effusion after ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction is not independently associated with short and long-term higher mortality. Free wall rupture has to be considered rare compared to the fibrinolytic era and occurs more frequently in patients with pericardial effusion, suggesting a close monitoring of these patients in the early post-primary percutaneous coronary intervention phase.


Primary PCI; STEMI; cardiac magnetic resonance; free wall rupture; myocardial infarction; pericardial effusion; primary percutaneous coronary intervention


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