What are the infectious causes of pericardial effusion?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: William J Strimel, DO, FACP; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection can lead to pericardial effusion through several mechanisms, including the following:

  • Secondary bacterial infection

  • Opportunistic infection

  • Malignancy (Kaposi sarcoma, lymphoma)

  • "Capillary leak" syndrome, which is associated with effusions in other body cavities

The most common cause of infectious pericarditis and myocarditis is viral. Common etiologic organisms include coxsackievirus A and B, and hepatitis viruses. Other forms of infectious pericarditis include the following:

  • Pyogenic - Pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, Neisseria, Legionella species

  • Tuberculous

  • Fungal - Histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, Candida

  • Syphilitic

  • Protozoal

  • Parasitic

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