Echocardiographic features of constrictive pericarditis.
The most characteristic echocardiographic features of 12 patients with constrictive pericarditis were compared with the findings in 10 normal volunteers. Left ventricular posterior wall (LVPW) "flatness" was quantified by measuring the diastolic change in distance from the crystal artifact to the LVPW endocardium. In 11 of 12 patients the net diastolic LVPW endocardial movement was less than 1 mm. In 10 normal volunteers LVPW endocardium moved posteriorly in diastole from 1.5 to 4 mm (mean 2.2 +/- 0.8). Abnormal septal motion was present in five of 12 patients with constriction. Pericardial thickness measured using standard damping techniques for both cnstriction and normal population did not distinguish the two groups. The "flattening" of the left ventricular endocardium as quantified above verifies earlier qualitative observations and was the most consistent finding in this series of patients with constrictive pericarditis.
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