The differentiation between constrictive pericarditis and restrictive cardiomyopathy can be clinically challenging. Pericardial constriction results from scarring and consequent loss of pericardial elasticity leading to impaired ventricular filling. Restrictive cardiomyopathy is characterized by a nondilated rigid ventricle, severe diastolic dysfunction and restrictive filling producing hemodynamic changes, similar to those in constrictive pericarditis. While constrictive pericarditis is usually curable by surgical treatment, restrictive cardiomyopathy requires medical therapy and in appropriate patients, the definitive treatment is cardiac transplantation. Sufficient differences exist between the two conditions to allow noninvasive differentiation, but no single diagnostic tool can be relied upon to make this distinction. Newer echocardiographic techniques such as speckle-track imaging, velocity vector imaging, as well as cardiac computed tomography and cardiac MRI can help differentiate constriction from restriction with high sensitivity and specificity. Outcomes are better with early diagnosis of constriction in particular and early surgical resection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine