Pericardiectomy vs medical management in patients with relapsing pericarditis

Masud H. Khandaker, Hartzell V. Schaff, Kevin L. Greason, Nandan S. Anavekar, Raul E. Espinosa, Sharonne N. Hayes, Rick A. Nishimura, Jae K. Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether surgical pericardiectomy is a safe and effective alternative to medical management for chronic relapsing pericarditis. Patients and Methods: Retrospective review of 184 patients presenting to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, from January 1, 1994, through December 31, 2005, with persistent relapsing pericarditis identified 58 patients who had a pericardiectomy after failed medical management and 126 patients who continued with medical treatment only. The primary outcome variables were in-hospital postoperative mortality or major morbidity, all-cause death, time to relapse, and medication use. Results: Mean ± SD follow-up was 5.5±3.5 years in the surgical group and 5.4±4.4 years in the medical treatment group. At baseline, patients in the surgical group had higher mean relapses (6.9 vs 5.5; P=.01), were more likely to be taking colchicine (43.1% [n=25] vs 18.3% [n=23]; P=.002) and corticosteroids (70.7% [n=41] vs 42.1% [n=53]; P<.001), and were more likely to have undergone a prior pericardiotomy (27.6% [n=16] vs 11.1% [n=14]; P=.003) than the medical treatment group. Perioperative mortality (0%) and major morbidity (3%; n=2) were minimal. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed no differences in all-cause death at follow-up (P=.26); however, the surgical group had a markedly decreased relapse rate compared with the medical treatment group (P=.009). Medication use was notably reduced after pericardiectomy. Conclusion: In patients with chronic relapsing pericarditis in whom medical management has failed, surgical pericardiectomy is a safe and effective method of relieving symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1070
Number of pages9
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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