What are the symptoms of constrictive pericarditis?

Varies. Can range from mild shortness of breathe with exertion to flash pulmonay edema and florid heart failure.
Edema. The most striking finding in constrictive pericarditis is severe edema with minimal respiratory symptoms unlike in patients with heart failure. The neck veins are engorged, the abdomen is distended with enlarged liver and ascites and the extremities are severely swollen and yet patient appears to be quite comfortable even when lying in bed nearly flat.

Related Questions

What is constrictive pericarditis?

Pericarditis. Constrictive pericarditis involves stiffening/thickening/hardening of the pericardium or "heart sack". This can be caused by many disease processes. Constrictive pericarditis results in restricting the filling of the heart which in turn may cause shortness of breath, swelling etc.. Read more...
Fibrosis and scar. The heart is wrapped in a double layer of thick fibrous tissue called the pericardium. Normally only a few drops of lubricating fluid is present in this potential space. Following an infection or radiation or trauma (or a few other causes), the two surfaces scar down and don't allow the heart to fill with blood during diastole which "constricts" it and causes a form of congestive heart failure. Read more...

What leads to constrictive pericarditis?

Infections and other. This is a stiffening of the normally pliable sac that holds the heart. Infections in the fluid around the heart, and scarring conditions that have no known cause can cause this sac to stiffen and this results in incomplete filling of the heart between beats. This lack of filling can lead to heart failure, as the heart is incapable of pumping blood as efficiently. It is a rare condition. Read more...

How can constrictive pericarditis be treated?

Depends on severity. Severe constrictive pericardiris can be treated with surgery called a pericardiotomy where they strip off the sack around the heart to relieve the consrtiction, . Read more...
Surgery. Most true constrictive pericarditis needs removal of a major portion of the pericardial sac. Read more...

How do you diagnose constrictive pericarditis?

Cath/MRI. Constrictive pericarditis can be suggested by findings on physical exam, chest x-ray and echocardiogram. A cardiac catheterization can provide more conclusive data. A cardiac magnetic resonance image (MRI) is perhaps the gold standard fro measuring the pericardium and diagnosing constrictive pericarditis. A cardiac ct can also be helpful. Read more...
Echo or Cath. History, swelling and venous congestion of head, neck liver, etc. Study by echo may suggest cardiac cath and pressure measurements confirm. Read more...

What sort of disease is constrictive pericarditis?

Scar formation. Scar formation in the sac enclosing the heart leads to constriction of the heart and interfere with the pumping function. It causes back-up of blood in the liver and may present as heart failure. It may result from healed infections, e.g., tuberculosis or late effect of radiation to the chest. Read more...
Inflammation. Inflammation of the heart sac that makes it difficult for the heart to expand during relaxation of the heart (diastole) so it can fill with blood that it then pushes out into the body's blood vessels during contraction (systole) ... This can cause low blood pressure, shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, and injury to the organs (liver, kidney, brain, intestines, etc). Read more...

What is constrictive pericarditis? Why is it such a big deal?

Limited treatment. Constrictive pericarditis describes a situation in which the sac around the heart has gotten very stiff - usually as a result of prior inflammation from either infection or maybe open heart surgery - and as a result does not allow the heart muscle to expand whenever it needs to in order to accept more blood returning from the body or the lung. Surgery is the only effective treatment once symptoms. Read more...

Can a low a/g ratio, 0.56, be due to constrictive pericarditis?

Not likely. It is better to look at the actual values and not just the ratio. All lab results need to be interpreted in the clinical context and the doctor who ordered the test is usually in the best position to do that. Read more...
Not sure.... Constrictive pericarditis is caused by stiffening of the sca around the heart (pericardium). It manifests as shortness of breath, fatigue, and severe swelling. It is diagnosed by catheterization or echocardiography. I haven't idea what and a/g ratio is - it not a common diagnostic test. Read more...