Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Pericarditis - constrictive


Alternative Names:

Constrictive pericarditis

Symptoms:

Symptoms of chronic constrictive pericarditis include:

Signs and tests:

Constrictive pericarditis is very difficult to diagnose. Signs and symptoms are similar to restrictive cardiomyopathy and cardiac tamponade. Your doctor will need to rule out these conditions when making a diagnosis.

A physical exam may show that your neck veins stick out, suggesting increased blood pressure in the area. This is called Kussmaul's sign. The doctor may note weak or distant heart sounds when listening to your chest with a stethoscope.

The physical exam may also reveal liver swelling and fluid in the belly area.

The following tests may be ordered:

Treatment:

The goal of treatment is to improve heart function. The cause must be identified and treated. This may include antibiotics, antituberculosis medications, or other treatments.

Diuretics ("water pills") are commonly prescribed in small doses to help the body remove excess fluid. Analgesics may be needed to control pain.

Decreased activity may be recommended for some patients.

A low-sodium diet may also be recommended.

The definitive treatment is a type of surgery called a pericardiectomy. This involves cutting or removing the scarring and part of the sac-like covering of the heart.

Expectations (prognosis):

Constrictive pericarditis may be life threatening if untreated.

However, surgery to treat the condition is associated with a relatively high complication rate and is usually reserved for patients who have severe symptoms.

Complications:
Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of constrictive pericarditis.

Prevention:

Constrictive pericarditis in some cases is not preventable.

However, conditions that can lead to constrictive pericarditis should be adequately treated.

References:

LeWinter MM, Tischler MD. Pericardial diseases. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap75.

Little WC, Oh JK. Pericardial diseases. In: Goldman L,Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier;2011:chap 77.


Review Date: 6/7/2012
Reviewed By: Glenn Gandelman, MD, MPH, FACC Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College, and in private practice specializing in cardiovascular disease in Greenwich, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Pericarditis - constrictive

   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania