Pericardial effusion

Case contributed by Frank Gaillard


Fevers, shoulder tip pain, and recent travel in South-East Asia.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male

Pericardial effusion and enhancing pericardium. There is also a left pleural effusion. There were some non-enlarged but enhancing paracardiac lymph nodes, and evidence of right heart failure with IVC enlargement and periportal edema; features of early cardiac tamponade

Case Discussion

A pericardial biopsy was performed which showed nonspecific fibrinopurulent pericarditis, with no evidence of malignancy. Cytology on the pericardial fluid showed only inflammatory cells. A Mycobacterium tuberculosis polymerase chain reaction test was negative. Culture for TB is negative to date.

The causes of fibrinous pericarditis include: viral; acute idiopathic; tuberculous; pyogenic; acute rheumatic fever; myocardial infarction; chronic renal failure; connective tissue diseases; malignant neoplasms (lymphoma, thymoma, mesothelioma, metastases); cardiac trauma or surgery; and radiotherapy.

Image contributed by: Dr Laughlin Dawes.

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