Constrictive pericarditis is characterised by a thickened, fibrotic and calcified pericardium. This limits ventricular filling and may result in heart failure. These changes are chronic and symptoms do not appear for a relatively long time.
- Peripheral oedema
- ECG: low voltage QRS complexes, generalised T wave inversion
- Chest x-ray: small heart in the context of heart failure, pericardial calcification
- Echocardiography: thickened, calcified pericardium with normally contracting ventricles (unlike restrictive cardiomyopathy)
- Endomyocardial biopsy: can distinguish it from restrictive cardiomyopathy
Surgical excision of the pericardium (pericardiectomy).
Overall, prognosis is poor.