July 1975

Constrictive Pericarditis in Children

Author Affiliations

From the Edward Mallinckrodt Department of Pediatrics, Division of Cardiology, Washington University School of Medicine (Drs. Strauss and Goldring); and St. Louis Children's Hospital (Dr. Santa-Maria).

Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(7):822-826. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120440048010

We observed five cases of constrictive pericarditis (CP) during a 12-year period, and studied the clinical findings, usual causes, and hemodynamic findings. There are two variants of CP: a chronic form, which is usually of unknown cause, and a rapidly developing form, which follows an attack of effusive pericarditis. A high index of suspicion is necessary to establish the diagnosis of CP both in children with a prolonged course of ascites and failure to thrive and in children with effusive, usually purulent, pericarditis. Although CP is rare in childhood, it should be easily recognized and curative surgical therapy should be rapidly initiated.