Pericarditis – constrictive

Alternative Names

Constrictive pericarditis

Definition of Pericarditis – constrictive

Constrictive pericarditis is long-term (chronic) inflammation of the sac-like covering of the heart (the pericardium) with thickening, scarring, and muscle tightening (contracture).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Constrictive pericarditis is most commonly caused by conditions or events that cause inflammation to develop around the heart, including:


Symptoms of chronic constrictive pericarditis include:

Signs and tests

Constrictive pericarditis is very difficult to diagnose. Signs and symptoms are similar to and cardiac tamponade. Your doctor will need to rule out these conditions when making a diagnosis.


The goal of treatment is to improve heart function. The cause must be identified and treated. This may include antibiotics, antituberculosis medications, or other treatments.

Expectations (prognosis)

Constrictive pericarditis may be life threatening if untreated.


Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Director, Northwestern Clinic Echocardiography Lab, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/1/2010

Constrictive pericarditis

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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