BACKGROUND: Pericardiocentesis is not routinely recommended in most patients with pericardial effusion (PE), except for patients with cardiac tamponade. However, the long-term follow-up results in patients with clinically not significant PE are few.
METHODS: Sixty-five consecutive patients (mean age:57 yrs, 26 males) out of 87 patients with PE, who were clinically not serious, were studied prospectively once in every two month for mean 6 months (2-12 months) without any specific treatment. The amount of PE was measured at the enddiastole period of parasternal long axis view and apical four chamber view.
RESULTS: The incidence of insignificant PE in our echocardiographic laboratory is 3.4% (n=87 from 2461). The maximal accumulation site of PE was posterior (n=51, 79%). The next is anterior (n=11, 17%) and right ventricular side (3, 5%). The amount of PE is less (0.37+/-0.17cm vs 0.64+/-0.54cm, p=0.018) in localized PE (n=24, 37%) than that of diffuse form (n=41, 63%), which spreads to more than 2 chambers. The presumptive etiologies of PE were unknown (n=41), heart failure (n=5), myocardial infarction (n=6), viral (n=3), and others (n=10). The amount of PE was decreased from 0.54+/-0.46 cm to 0.30+/-0.26 cm, 0.23+/-0.24 cm, and 0.21+/-0.23 cm 2, 4, and 6 months after intial evaluation, respectively, without any complication.
CONCLUSION: The patients with PE, not combining >KERN=