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January 1979

Dissecting Aortic Aneurysm Manifesting as Acute Pericarditis

Author Affiliations


From the Cardiology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Greenberg and Davia); the Department of Cardiovascular Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC (Drs Fenoglio and McAllister); the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Cheitlin); and the Uniformed Services School of Medicine, Bethesda, Md (Drs Greenberg, Davia, Fenoglio, and McAllister).

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(1):108-109. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630380086029

Two patients with coarctation of the aorta initially had acute idiopathic pericarditis with anterior pleuritic chest pain as the chief complaint. A pericardial friction rub was present in both patients. Both patients died suddenly. At autopsy, they were found to have a dissecting aneurysm of the ascending aorta with extension into the pericardial space; acute pericardial tamponade was the cause of death. We recommend that when a patient with coarctation of the aorta is admitted with pericarditis, aortic dissection should be considered and appropriate diagnostic procedures undertaken. In all young patients with acute pericarditis there should be careful palpation of the femoral pulses and review of the chest x-ray film for rib notching.

(Arch Intern Med 139:108-109, 1979)

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