Diagnostic issues in the clinical management of pericarditis.

Cardiology Department, Maria Vittoria Hospital, Torino, Italy.
International Journal of Clinical Practice (Impact Factor: 2.54). 09/2010; 64(10):1384-92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02178.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To review the current major diagnostic issues on the diagnosis of acute and recurrent pericarditis.
To review the current available evidence, we performed a through search of several evidence-based sources of information, including Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Clinical Evidence, Evidence-based guidelines from National Guidelines Clearinghouse and a comprehensive Medline search with the MeSH terms 'pericarditis', 'etiology' and 'diagnosis'.
The diagnosis of pericarditis is based on clinical criteria including symptoms, presence of specific physical findings (rubs), electrocardiographical changes and pericardial effusion. Although the aetiology may be varied, most cases are idiopathic or viral, even after an extensive diagnostic evaluation. In such cases, the course is often benign following anti-inflammatory treatment, and management would be not affected by a more precise diagnostic evaluation. A triage of pericarditis can be safely performed on the basis of the clinical and echocardiographical presentation. Specific diagnostic tests are not warranted if no specific aetiologies are suspected on the basis of the epidemiological background, history and presentation. High-risk features associated with specific aetiologies or complications include: fever > 38 degrees C, subacute onset, large pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade, lack of response to aspirin or a NSAID.
A targeted diagnostic evaluation is warranted in acute and recurrent pericarditis, with a specific aetiological search to rule out tuberculous, purulent or neoplastic pericarditis, as well as pericarditis related to a systemic disease, in selected patients according to the epidemiological background, presentation and clinical suspicion.

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    ABSTRACT: Pericarditis is a common human disease defined by inflammation of the pericardium. Currently, 40% to 85% of pericarditis cases have no identified etiology. Most of these cases are thought to be caused by an infection of undetected, unsuspected or unknown viruses. In this work, we used a culture- and sequence-independent approach to investigate the viral DNA communities present in human pericardial fluids. Seven viral metagenomes were generated from the pericardial fluid of patients affected by pericarditis of unknown etiology and one metagenome was generated from the pericardial fluid of a sudden infant death case. As a positive control we generated one metagenome from the pericardial fluid of a patient affected by pericarditis caused by herpesvirus type 3. Furthermore, we used as negative controls a total of 6 pericardial fluids from 6 different individuals affected by pericarditis of non-infectious origin: 5 of them were sequenced as a unique pool and the remaining one was sequenced separately. The results showed a significant presence of torque teno viruses especially in one patient, while herpesviruses and papillomaviruses were present in the positive control. Co-infections by different genotypes of the same viral type (torque teno viruses) or different viruses (herpesviruses and papillomaviruses) were observed. Sequences related to bacteriophages infecting Staphylococcus, Enterobacteria, Streptococcus, Burkholderia and Pseudomonas were also detected in three patients. This study detected torque teno viruses and papillomaviruses, for the first time, in human pericardial fluids.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e93367. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093367 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Idiopathic (viral) pericarditis is the most common form of pericardial disease in the Western world. Despite the combination of colchicine and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) plus aspirin (ASA), considered first-line therapy, the incidence of recurrent pericarditis is ~20-30%. In addition, secondary recurrence without optimal first-line therapy is ~50%. This is due to the many clinical challenges, such as inappropriate NSAID/ASA duration of therapy, the use of corticosteroid therapy, contraindications or intolerances to therapy, adverse effects, and issues related to adherence. This review describes contemporary pharmacotherapeutic management of idiopathic (viral) pericarditis, with a particular emphasis on the role of colchicine. Emerging therapies and management strategies, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein-guided therapy and novel immunotherapies, are also reviewed. Ultimately, understanding appropriate treatment will assist the clinician in helping decrease the risk of recurrent, incessant, and refractory pericarditis. © 2015 Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.
    Pharmacotherapy 01/2015; 35(1):99-111. DOI:10.1002/phar.1527 · 2.31 Impact Factor

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