Constrictive pericarditis

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Acute and subacute forms of pericarditis (which may or may not be symptomatic) may deposit fibrin, which, in turn, can evoke a pericardial effusion.

In constrictive pericarditis, the easily distensible, thin parietal and visceral pericardial linings become inflamed, thickened, and fused.

Because of these changes, the potential space between the linings is obliterated, and the ventricle loses distensibility.

Venous return to the heart becomes limited, and ventricular filling is reduced, with associated inability to maintain adequate preload.

Since the myocardium is unaffected, early ventricular filling during the first third of diastole is unimpeded

This often leads to pericardial organization, chronic fibrotic scarring, and calcification, most often involving the parietal pericardium

Filling pressures of the heart tend to become equal in both the ventricles and the atria.


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