Increasing pericardial effusion in cardiac transplant recipients.
Although pericardial effusion after cardiac surgery is frequent and usually benign, its etiology and prognosis after cardiac transplantation are unknown. During 1 year (1985-1986), 12 of our current transplant population (total, 189) developed moderate or large pericardial effusions confirmed by two-dimensional echocardiography. These effusions occurred within 1 month of transplantation in 10 patients and at 3 months and 4.5 years in the other two. Pericardiocentesis was performed because of clinical evidence of increasing effusions in eight patients, with demonstrable hemodynamic compromise secondary to tamponade in five. Pericardial fluid was sterile in all but one. Endomyocardial biopsy at the time of increasing effusion revealed moderate acute rejection in five patients, mild rejection in three, and no rejection in four. All three patients with mild rejection had moderate acute rejection on subsequent biopsy performed within 7 days. In two of the four with no rejection, repeat biopsy within 5 days showed moderate acute rejection; in a third, moderate rejection was present on biopsy performed 14 days later. Legionella dumoffii was isolated from the pericardial fluid of the fourth patient, whose subsequent biopsies never showed rejection. Three of the 12 patients developed progressive ventricular dysfunction sufficiently severe to require retransplantation. One patient died suddenly 12 months after transplantation, and autopsy examination revealed severe coronary artery disease. Two died of sepsis within 3 months of transplantation. Intense inflammatory infiltrates and thickening of the pericardium and epicardium were characteristically present in explanted and autopsy hearts.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association