OBJECTIVES: Constrictive pericarditis (CP) is a disabling disease, and usually requires pericardiectomy to relieve heart failure. Reversible CP has been described, but there is no known method to predict the reversibility. Pericardial inflammation may be a marker for reversibility. As a pilot study, we assessed whether cardiac magnetic resonance imaging pericardial late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and inflammatory biomarkers could predict the reversibility of CP after anti-inflammatory therapy.
METHODS: Twenty-nine CP patients received anti-inflammatory medications after cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Fourteen patients had resolution of CP, whereas 15 patients had persistent CP after 13 months of follow-up. Baseline LGE pericardial thickness was greater in the group with reversible CP than in the persistent CP group (4±1 versus 2±1 mm, P=0.001). Qualitative intensity of pericardial LGE was moderate or severe in 93% of the group with reversible CP and in 33% of the persistent CP group (P=0.002).
RESULTS: Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging LGE pericardial thickness ≥3 mm had 86% sensitivity and 80% specificity to predict CP reversibility. The group with reversible CP also had higher baseline C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate than the persistent CP group (59±52 versus 12±14 mg/L, P=0.04 and 49±25 versus 15±16 mm/h, P=0.04, respectively). Anti-inflammatory therapy was associated with a reduction in C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and pericardial LGE in the group with reversible CP but not in the persistent CP group.
CONCLUSIONS: Reversible CP was associated with pericardial and systemic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory therapy was associated with a reduction in pericardial and systemic inflammation and LGE pericardial thickness, with resolution of CP physiology and symptoms. Further studies in a larger number of patients are needed.
Cardiopulmonary Imaging, Section Head
Cleveland Clinic Florida