Introduction: A wide variety of diseases lead to pericardial effusion including systemic inflammatory diseases, pericarditis, reduced pericardial fluid reabsorption due to increased systemic venous pressure, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, endocrine diseases, post-cardiotomy syndrome, trauma, hypothyroidism, renal-hepatic failure, collagen-vascular diseases, infectious, and malignancy. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the underlying etiology of pericardial effusions in patients underwent surgical pericardial drainage or pericardial window and contemporary management.
Materials and methods: Between January 2006 and January 2018, a total of 81 patients (49 males, 32 females; mean 52.9±10.6 years; range 5 to 84 years) who underwent subxiphoid pericardiostomy, pericardial window procedure with left anterior thoracotomy or subxiphoid approach, due to moderate or severe pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade, were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: Malignancy was diagnosed either with histopathological examination of the pericardial biopsy and/or fluid in 17 (80.9%) of 21 patients had a previous history of malignancy. Of the 21 patients diagnosed with malignancy, six patients (7.5%) had leukemia/lymphoma, and six patients (7.5%) had thyroid papillary cancer. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was identified in only one (1.2%) patient’s culture of the pericardial fluid. No etiology was found in the remaining 38 patients (46.9%); thus, they were considered as idiopathic pericarditis.
Conclusion: Tuberculosis is no longer the leading cause of pericarditis. Idiopathic pericarditis is the leading cause of pericardial effusion and malignancy is the next most common cause of pericardial effusion in our region.
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