Constrictive pericarditis: Risks, aetiologies and outcomes after total pericardiectomy: 24 years of experience

Gábor Szabó, Bastian Schmack, Cem Bulut, Pál Soós, Alexander Weymann, Susanne Stadtfeld, Matthias Karck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Constrictive pericarditis is the result of a spectrum of primary cardiac and non-cardiac conditions. Few data exist on the preoperative risk specific to survival after pericardiectomy. This study was designed to compare the association of aetiology of constrictive pericarditis and other clinical variables, with long-term survival after total pericardiectomy. METHODS: A total of 89 patients were studied, who underwent pericardiectomy for constrictive pericarditis at a single surgical centre between 1988 and 2012. Constrictive pericarditis was confirmed by the surgical report. Demographic, pre-, intra- and postoperative data and long-term outcome were investigated. Survival was assessed by the Kaplan-Meier method. RESULTS: Aetiology of constrictive pericarditis was idiopathic in 49 patients (55%), prior cardiac surgery in 21 patients (23.6%), tuberculosis in 5 patients (5.6%), radiation treatment in 5 (5.6%), uraemia in 4 (4.5%), inflammation in 3 (3.5%) myocardial infarction in 2 (2.2%), and perioperative mortality was 7%. Seventy-five percent of patients were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III-IV, which status significantly improved in long-term survivors (95% in NYHA I-II). Idiopathic constrictive pericarditis had the best prognosis (5-year Kaplan-Meier survival: 81%) followed by post-surgical (50%) and post-radiation pericarditis (no survivors after 5 years). Tuberculosis, myocardial infarction and uraemia have survival rates comparable with idiopathic aetiology. In addition, preoperative NYHA class IV was associated with significantly lower long-term survival. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term survival after pericardiectomy for constrictive pericarditis is related to underlying aetiology and overall clinical condition. The relatively good survival with idiopathic constrictive pericarditis emphasizes the safety of pericardiectomy in this subgroup.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberezt138
Pages (from-to)1023-1028
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Constrictive/complications/surgery
  • Pericardiectomy
  • Pericarditis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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