What causes constrictive pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

Constrictive pericarditis is usually caused by suppurative, caseous, or hemorrhagic pericarditis. The heart may become encased in a 0.5-cm–thick to 1-cm–thick layer of scar or calcification (concretio cordis), resembling a plaster mold. Contrary to clinical findings in adhesive mediastinopericarditis, the heart cannot become hypertrophic or dilate because of insufficient space.

Imazio et al suggest that constrictive pericarditis is a rare complication of viral or idiopathic acute pericarditis (<0.5%). However, it appears to be comparatively frequent for specific etiologies, especially bacterial. [9]


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