Clinical review: intrapericardial fibrinolysis in management of purulent pericarditis.

Critical Care : the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum
Pascal AugustinPhilippe Montravers


Purulent pericarditis (PP) is a potentially life-threatening disease. Reported mortality rates are between 20 and 30%. Constrictive pericarditis occurs over the course of PP in at least 3.5% of cases. The frequency of persistent PP (chronic or recurrent purulent pericardial effusion occurring despite drainage and adequate antibiotherapy) is unknown because this entity was not previously classified as a complication of PP. No consensus exists on the optimal management of PP. Nevertheless, the cornerstone of PP management is complete eradication of the focus of infection. In retrospective studies, compared to simple drainage, systematic pericardiectomy provided a prevention of constrictive pericarditis with better clinical outcome. Because of potential morbidity associated with pericardiectomy, intrapericardial fibrinolysis has been proposed as a less invasive method for prevention of persistent PP and constrictive pericarditis. Experimental data demonstrate that fibrin formation, which occurs during the first week of the disease, is an essential step in the evolution to constrictive pericarditis and persistent PP. We reviewed the literature using the MEDLINE database. We evaluated the clinical efficacy, outcome, and complication...Continue Reading


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