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Hi everyone,

My father has been diagnosed with constrictive pericarditis. He came home from the hospital and he told us this. Apparently, the doctor told him that he is actually very lucky to be diagnosed with this one because it is a very hard condition to diagnose. Doctors usually mistake this condition with myocardial infarction (MI), aortic dissection, pneumonia, influenza, and connective tissue disorders. They show very similar signs on tests and this overlap can confuse the most skilled diagnostician. This is good because they can set a proper treatment for him now.

I wanted to ask you if you know what are the causes and risk factors of constrictive pericarditis?

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Hey Adria,

Constrictive pericarditis occurs when a thickened fibrotic pericardium, of whatever cause, impedes normal diastolic filling. This usually involves the parietal pericardium, although it can involve the visceral pericardium. Acute and subacute forms of pericarditis (which may or may not be symptomatic) may deposit fibrin, which, in turn, can evoke a pericardial effusion. This often leads to pericardial inflammation, chronic fibrotic scarring, calcification, and restricted cardiac filling.

The classic diagnostic conundrum associated with constrictive pericarditis is the difficulty distinguishing this condition from restrictive cardiomyopathy and other syndromes associated with elevated right-sided pressure that all share similar symptoms, physical findings, and hemodynamics.
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Hello there you two,

When the covering of your heart is chronically inflamed, it becomes rigid. As a result, your heart cannot stretch as much as it should when it beats. This can prevent your heart chambers from filling up with the right amount of blood. This is what leads to the symptoms of heart failure.

The cause of constrictive pericarditis is not always known. However, possible causes may include:

  • heart surgery
  • radiation therapy to the chest
  • tuberculosis

Some of the less common causes are:

  • viral infection
  • bacterial infection
  • mesothelioma, which is an uncommon type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
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The following factors increase your risk of developing this condition: pericarditis- if it is left untreated, it can become chronic; Autoimmune Disorders like systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other immune diseases have been shown to increase your risk for constrictive pericarditis; trauma or Injury to the Heart- having had a heart attack or having undergone heart surgery can both increase your risk; some medications are consider as a risk factor of constrictive pericarditis, it is a side effect of some medications; gender and age- constrictive pericarditis is most common in men between the ages of 20 and 50, rather than in women.

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Hello everyone. I am familiar with the fact that a few things are the main causes of pericarditis. Very often, a complication of a viral infection and usually a gastrointestinal virus. Rarely, the causes are flu or AIDS. This type of pericarditis can also be caused by a bacterial infection, fungal infection or parasitic infection. On the other hand there are certain autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and it can also cause pericarditis. Additional causes of it can include injury of the chest after, for example car crash. Risk factors can be huge if you don't treat it. Good luck. 

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Hello there. Since my youngest child had it, I know a lot about it. I know that constrictive pericarditis symptoms overlap those of diseases as diverse as myocardial infarction (MI), aortic dissection, pneumonia, influenza, and connective tissue disorders. This overlap can confuse the most skilled diagnostician. An increased suspicion of constriction helps move constrictive pericarditis to the top of a lengthy differential diagnosis list and facilitates correct diagnosis and timely therapy. Now when you know what are the causes and symptoms you should definitely focus on the treatment. And symptoms that you should also pay attention at are : pain in the back, neck or left shoulder, difficulty while you are breathing especially when you are lying down, extremely dry cough, etc.
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Hello everyone. Here is what every one of you should know about constrictive pericarditis.  Constrictive pericarditis is long-term (or chronic, whatever) inflammation of the sac-like covering of the heart (the pericardium) with thickening, scarring, and muscle tightening (contracture). Related conditions may include:

  1. Bacterial pericarditis
  2. Pericarditis
  3. Pericarditis after heart attack. In some other cases, well actually most of the time, constrictive pericarditis occurs due to things that cause inflammation to develop around the heart, such as:
  • Heart surgery
  • Radiation therapy to the chest
  • Tuberculosis.

I hope that you do understand this a little bit better. It is not so complicated to understand at all. 

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I have to tell you that I do agree with Alan – 45. If you let this untreated, it can cause some serious problems for you. I am aware that Constrictive pericarditis is considered as a rare, dreaded possible complication of acute pericarditis, so this could be a problem, right?  Nevertheless, there is a lack of prospective studies that have evaluated the specific risk according to different etiologies. The aim of this study is to evaluate the risk of CP after acute pericarditis in a prospective cohort study with long-term follow-up. Anyway, once you determine the risk of it you should consult your doctor about the best possible way of the treatment. 

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