Dataset Information


Effusive-constrictive cholesterol pericarditis: a case report.



Cholesterol pericarditis (CP) remains a rare pericardial disease characterized by chronic pericardial effusions with high cholesterol concentrations with or without the formation of cholesterol crystals. Effusions are often large and can cause ventricular compression and subsequent pericardial adhesion formation. CP can be idiopathic but has associations with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), tuberculosis and hypothyroidism.

Case summary

We present a case of a 72-year-old male with a background of seropositive RA with a finding of an incidental pericardial effusion on computed tomography thorax abdomen and pelvis. Transthoracic echocardiogram demonstrated a large effusion with echocardiographic features of tamponade. On review, he was breathless with a raised venous pressure, bilateral ankle oedema, and pulsus paradoxus was present. Pericardial drainage was performed with fluid analysis demonstrating a cholesterol concentration of 8.3?mmol/L and numerous cholesterol crystal formation. Interval imaging demonstrated recurrence of the effusion with pericardial thickening and progressive constriction. He remained asymptomatic and underwent a successful pericardial window. At present, he is under close clinical outpatient surveillance with symptoms guiding a future pericardiectomy if warranted.


CP can present as an emergent situation with signs and symptoms of acute heart failure with prompt pericardiocentesis required in cases of clinical tamponade. However, the disease course is often one of chronicity with relapsing large effusions that tend to recur following drainage, with the development of pericardial constriction necessitating pericardiectomy for definitive management.

SUBMITTER: Shergill S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7850630 | BioStudies | 2021-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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