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Background: Constrictive pericarditis (CP) is a rare complication of cardiac surgery. We report a patient who developed CP after ruptured sinus of Valsalva (RSOV) repair.

Case: A 23-year-old male presented with severe exertional dyspnea one year after RSOV repair. Echocardiogram showed thickened pericardium, ventricular septal bounce (Fig 1A), left atrial enlargement, diastolic hepatic flow reversal (Fig 1B), and trivial mitral regurgitation without stenosis. He underwent cardiac catheterization, which revealed elevated filling pressures (RVEDP 16 mmHg, LVEDP 18 mmHg), RVEDP/RVSP ratio < 0.5, and a low cardiac index (1.65 L/min/m2). Cardiac MRI on the same day confirmed pericardial thickening (Fig D) with paradoxic septal motion, dilated pulmonary veins (Fig 1F) and retrograde flow in the SVC.

Decision‐making: Pericardiectomy of thickened and adherent pericardium was performed without the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. The central venous pressure decreased from 23 to 7 mmHg and TEE showed normal systolic function with less septal bounce posteroperatively. Pathology specimens of the pericardium exhibited fibrosis and mild chronic inflammation. He continued to do well off diuretics at one-month follow-up.

Conclusion: Constrictive pericarditis is an uncommon complication of aortic root surgery. MRI is the ideal study to confirm the thickened pericardium and paradoxic septal motion in patients with suspected pericarditis. Cardiac catheterization can be performed to confirm the diagnosis.




Presented at American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session, May 15-17, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Constrictive Pericarditis After Repair of a Ruptured Sinus of Valsalva

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