Acute pericarditis in childhood. The 9-year experience of a tertiary referral center.

N J Farinha, A Bartolo, L Trindade, T Vaz, J Monterroso, J C Areias, N T Santos


Sixteen children, aged 7 months to 12 years, with acute pericarditis, admitted between 1985 and 1993 to a tertiary referral centre were analyzed retrospectively for their presentation, etiology, work-up, management and prognosis. It was found that most of the presenting signs were not specific and were often related to associated diseases such as respiratory tract infections. In 50% of the cases a cause was not found, the others had viral infections (12.5%), tuberculosis (12.5%), Haemophilus influenzae infection (6.25%), Toxocara canis infection (6.25%) and collagen diseases (12.5%). In eight cases non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs associated with steroids were given, 7 patients received non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and 1 steroids. The mean follow-up time was 3 years (1 to 5). Six patients had one or more relapses. Five of the 6 patients with relapses were in the group which received steroids. The two patients with tuberculosis underwent pericardiectomy. One child died due to complex heart disease and the remaining 15 were cured. It was concluded that in pericarditis an extensive work-up may not reveal the major etiologies and that long term prognosis is good.

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