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May 15, 1972

Amebic Pericarditis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of adult cardiology (Drs. Loeb and Rahimtoola), infectious diseases (Dr. Gorbach), cardio-thoracic surgery (Dr. Tatooles), and the Division of Medicine (Dr. Heller), Hektoen Institute for Medical Research of the Cook County Hospital; the Department of Medicine (Drs. Gorbach, Loeb, and Rahimtoola), Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine; and the departments of surgery (Dr. Tatooles) and physiology (Dr. Tatooles), Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago.

JAMA. 1972;220(7):988-990. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200070076013

Two patients with cardiac tamponade, later found to be due to amebic pericarditis, presented in the space of two months. Both patients survived the initial tamponade and were treated for amebiasis. The first patient progressed to a complete clinical cure but the second patient died, probably as a result of the development of constrictive pericarditis. Diagnosis was made in both patients on the basis of an abscess in the left lobe of the liver (confirmed by liver scan and surgery), the presence of brown, sterile pus in both the liver abscess and pericardium, and high titers of amebic hemagglutinating antibodies in the blood. One of the patients is a native American who had not left Chicago for 30 years. She is thought to represent the first case of amebic pericarditis arising in the United States.