Constrictive pericarditis: A reminder of a not so rare disease

Michael Bergman*, Janos Vitrai, Hertzel Salman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Constrictive pericarditis is a rare condition characterized by clinical signs of right heart failure subsequent to loss of pericardial compliance. The etiology of constrictive pericarditis has changed during the last decades in developed countries. While, in the past, tuberculosis and idiopathic pericardial constriction were the prevalent causes of the disease, cardiac surgery has become one of the main reasons for its development in recent years. However, cases defined as idiopathic constrictive pericarditis are still observed. In addition to the classical chronic and subacute forms, new presentations, such as effusive-constrictive, localized, transient, occult, and constrictive pericarditis with normal pericardial thickness, have been described. Although conservative treatment may alleviate the patient's symptoms, pericardiectomy remains the only definitive treatment for the disease. It is worth noting that the sooner the diagnosis of pericardial constriction is established, the better the outcome is. The pathophysiological features, clinical findings, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic approach to constrictive pericarditis are detailed in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-464
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Constriction
  • Constrictive pericarditis
  • Pericardium


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