Learn About Constrictive Pericarditis

What is the definition of Constrictive Pericarditis?

Constrictive pericarditis is a process where the sac-like covering of the heart (the pericardium) becomes thickened and scarred.

Related conditions include:

  • Bacterial pericarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Pericarditis after heart attack
Pericardium
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What are the alternative names for Constrictive Pericarditis?

Constrictive pericarditis

What are the causes of Constrictive Pericarditis?

Most of the time, constrictive pericarditis occurs due to things that cause inflammation to develop around the heart, such as:

  • Heart surgery
  • Radiation therapy to the chest
  • Tuberculosis

Less common causes include:

  • Abnormal fluid buildup in the covering of the heart. This may occur because of infection or as a complication of surgery.
  • Mesothelioma

The condition may also develop without a clear cause.

It is rare in children.

Constrictive pericarditis
What are the symptoms of Constrictive Pericarditis?

When you have constrictive pericarditis, the inflammation causes the covering of the heart to become thick and rigid. This makes it hard for the heart to stretch properly when it beats. As a result, the heart chambers don't fill up with enough blood. Blood backs up behind the heart, causing heart swelling and other symptoms of heart failure.

Symptoms of chronic constrictive pericarditis include:

  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea) that develops slowly and gets worse
  • Fatigue
  • Long-term swelling (edema) of the legs and ankles
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Weakness
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What are the current treatments for Constrictive Pericarditis?

The goal of treatment is to improve heart function. The cause must be identified and treated. Depending on the source of the problem, treatment may include anti-inflammatory agents, antibiotics, medicines for tuberculosis, or other treatments.

Diuretics ("water pills") are often used in small doses to help the body remove excess fluid. Pain medicines may be needed for discomfort.

Some people may need to cut down on their activity. A low-sodium diet may also be recommended.

If other methods do not control the problem, surgery called a pericardiectomy may be needed. This involves cutting or removing the scarring and part of the sac-like covering of the heart.

Who are the top Constrictive Pericarditis Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
14
conditions
Thoracic Surgery
General Surgery

Cleveland Clinic Health System

Cleveland Clinic Main Campus

9500 Euclid Ave 
Cleveland, OH 44195

Douglas Johnston is a Thoracic Surgeon and a General Surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Johnston has been practicing medicine for over 24 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Constrictive Pericarditis. He is also highly rated in 14 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Constrictive Pericarditis, Aortic Valve Stenosis, Aortic Regurgitation, and Bicuspid Aortic Valve. He is licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Johnston is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
23
conditions
Cardiology

Cleveland Clinic Health System

Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Cleveland Clinic 
Cleveland, OH 44195

Paul Cremer is a Cardiologist in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Cremer has been practicing medicine for over 15 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Constrictive Pericarditis. He is also highly rated in 23 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pericarditis, Constrictive Pericarditis, Cardiac Tamponade, and Mitral Valve Regurgitation. He is licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Cremer is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
37
conditions
Thoracic Surgery
General Surgery

Mayo Clinic

Rochester, Minnesota

200 1st St Sw 
Rochester, MN 55905

Hartzell Schaff is a Thoracic Surgeon and a General Surgeon in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Schaff has been practicing medicine for over 49 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Constrictive Pericarditis. He is also highly rated in 37 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy HCM, Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis, Constrictive Pericarditis, and Aortic Regurgitation. He is licensed to treat patients in Minnesota. Dr. Schaff is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Constrictive Pericarditis?

Constrictive pericarditis may be life threatening if untreated.

However, surgery to treat the condition has a high risk for complications. For this reason, it is most often done in people who have severe symptoms.

What are the possible complications of Constrictive Pericarditis?

Complications may include:

  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Liver and kidney dysfunction
  • Scarring of the heart muscle
When should I contact a medical professional for Constrictive Pericarditis?

Call your provider if you have symptoms of constrictive pericarditis.

How do I prevent Constrictive Pericarditis?

In some cases, constrictive pericarditis is not preventable.

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

What are the latest Constrictive Pericarditis Clinical Trials?
Prognostic Biomarkers in Patients With Acute Pericarditis
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What are the Latest Advances for Constrictive Pericarditis?
“Turtle cage” method in the cardiac surgical treatment of constrictive pericarditis – our short-term results
Infectious Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Purulent Pericarditis due to Staphylococcus aureus:Report of a Case.
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Lessons of the month 3: Haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis following COVID-19 vaccination (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19).
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 30, 2020
Published By: Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Hoit BD, Oh JK. Pericardial diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 68.

Jouriles NJ. Pericardial and myocardial disease. In Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 72.

Lewinter MM, Imazio M. Pericardial diseases. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 83.