OBJECTIVES: The study assessed changes in left ventricular systolic and diastolic function after pericardiectomy in patients with constrictive pericarditis and correlated postoperative Doppler echocardiographic findings with clinical status. BACKGROUND: Despite the efficacy of pericardiectomy, some patients with constrictive pericarditis fail to improve postoperatively. Data on serial evaluation of systolic and diastolic function after pericardiectomy and its relation to clinical status are not available. METHODS: From 1985 to 1995, a total of 58 patients with constrictive pericarditis underwent pericardiectomy and had at least one follow-up Doppler echocardiographic study with a respirometer: 23 patients had one examination within 3 months postoperatively, 19 had a study within 3 months and another one more than 3 months postoperatively, and 16 had one study more than 3 months postoperatively. RESULTS: In the early postoperative period, diastolic function was normal in 17 patients (40.5%), restrictive in 17 (40.5%), and constrictive in 8 (19%). Among 19 patients who had serial Doppler echocardiography, in 2 patients with restrictive physiology and 5 with constrictive physiology the results had become normal, and 1 patient who had had constrictive physiology had restrictive findings. In late follow-up, left ventricular end-diastolic diameter increased compared with preoperative measurement (p = 0.0009). Diastolic filling pattern at late follow-up was normal in 20 patients (57%), restrictive in 12 (34%) and constrictive in 3 (9%). There was a significant relationship between diastolic filling patterns and symptomatic status (χ2 = 20.9, p < 0.0001). Patients with persistent abnormal diastolic filling on Doppler echocardiography had had symptoms for a longer time preoperatively than did patients with normal diastolic physiology (p = 0.0471). CONCLUSIONS: Diastolic filling characteristics remain abnormal in a substantial number of patients with constrictive pericarditis after pericardiectomy. These abnormalities may resolve gradually but can persist. Diastolic filling abnormalities after pericardiectomy correlate well with clinical symptoms and tend to occur in patients who have had symptoms longer preoperatively. This finding supports the recommendation that pericardiectomy be performed promptly in symptomatic patients with constrictive pericarditis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine