Aims: To evaluate efficacy and safety of intrapericardial treatment with the crystalloid corticosteroid triamcinolone in autoreactive pericardial effusion.
Methods and results: Two hundred and sixty consecutive patients with pericarditis/myopericarditis underwent pericardiocentesis, pericardioscopy (Storz-AF1101B1), and epicardial biopsy with pericardial fluid and tissue analyses. By polymerase chain reaction for cardiotropic viruses/bacteria in pericardial effusion and epicardial biopsies as well as by immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry of epicardial and endomyocardial biopsies, 84/260 patients were classified as autoreactive pericarditis and underwent intrapericardial instillation of triamcinolone (group 1: 54 patients, 50% males, mean age 48.9 +/- 14.3 years, triamcinolone 600 mg x m(-2) x 24 h(-1); group 2: 30 patients, 46.7% males, mean age 52.5 +/- 12.7 years, triamcinolone 300 mg x m(-2) x 24 h(-1)). Intrapericardial administration of triamcinolone resulted in symptomatic improvement and prevented effusion recurrence in 92.6% vs 86.7% of the patients after 3 months and in 86.0% vs 82.1% after 1 year in groups 1 and 2, respectively (P>0.05). There were no treatment-related acute complications. During the follow-up, 29.6% of the patients developed transitory iatrogenic Cushing syndrome in group 1 in contrast to 13.3% in group 2 (P<0.05). Conclusion Intrapericardial treatment of autoreactive pericarditis with 300 mg x m(-2) x 24 h(-1) of triamcinolone prevented recurrence of symptoms and relapse of effusion as effectively as the 600 mg x m(-2) x 24 h(-1) regimen, but with significantly fewer side effects.
Copyright 2002 The European Society of Cardiology