BACKGROUND: Constrictive pericarditis (CP) is a disabling disease, and usually requires pericardiectomy to relieve heart failure. Reversible CP has been described, but there is no known method to predict the reversibility. Pericardial inflammation may be a marker for reversibility. As a pilot study, we assessed whether cardiac magnetic resonance imaging pericardial late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and inflammatory biomarkers could predict the reversibility of CP after antiinflammatory therapy.
METHOD AND RESULTS: Twenty-nine CP patients received antiinflammatory medications after cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Fourteen patients had resolution of CP, whereas 15 patients had persistent CP after 13 months of follow-up. Baseline LGE pericardial thickness was greater in the group with reversible CP than in the persistent CP group (4 ± 1 versus 2 ± 1 mm, P = 0.001). Qualitative intensity of pericardial LGE was moderate or severe in 93% of the group with reversible CP and in 33% of the persistent CP group (P = 0.002). Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging LGE pericardial thickness ≥ 3 mm had 86% sensitivity and 80% specificity to predict CP reversibility. The group with reversible CP also had higher baseline C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate than the persistent CP group (59 ± 52 versus 12 ± 14 mg/L, P = 0.04 and 49 ± 25 versus 15 ± 16 mm/h, P = 0.04, respectively). Antiinflammatory therapy was associated with a reduction in C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and pericardial LGE in the group with reversible CP but not in the persistent CP group.
CONCLUSIONS: Reversible CP was associated with pericardial and systemic inflammation. Antiinflammatory therapy was associated with a reduction in pericardial and systemic inflammation and LGE pericardial thickness, with resolution of CP physiology and symptoms. Further studies in a larger number of patients are needed.
Feng D., Glockner J., Kim K., Martinez M., Syed IS., Araoz P., Breen J., Espinosa RE., Sundt T., Schaff HV., & Oh JK. (2011). Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging pericardial late gadolinium enhancement and elevated inflammatory markers can predict the reversibility of constrictive pericarditis after antiinflammatory medical therapy: a pilot study. Circulation,124(17), 1830-1837. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.026070.