Pericardial effusion treatment overview

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]; Varun Kumar, M.B.B.S

Overview

Treatment of pericardial effusion depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the problem. Patients with acute inflammatory signs may get symptomatic relief with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Treatment

  • Pericardial effusion due to a viral infection usually resolves within a few weeks without treatment.
  • Some pericardial effusions remain small and never require treatment.
  • If the pericardial effusion is due to a condition such as lupus, treatment with aspirin or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs may provide benefit.
  • If the effusion is compromising heart function and causing cardiac tamponade, it will need to be drained, most commonly by a needle inserted through the chest wall and into the pericardial space.
  • A drainage tube is often left in place for several days. In some cases, surgical drainage may be required by pericardiocentesis, in which a needle, and sometimes a catheter are used to drain excess fluid. Pericardial window is made surgically in patients with recurrent pericardial effusion which drains the fluid into peritonial cavity[1]

References

  1. Stuart J. Hutchison (10 December 2008). Pericardial diseases: clinical diagnostic imaging atlas. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 93–. ISBN 9781416052746. Retrieved 10 November 2010.



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