Purpose of review: To review the echo-Doppler findings in effusive-constrictive pericarditis (ECP). ECP corresponds to the coexistence of a hemodynamically significant pericardial effusion and markedly reduced compliance of the pericardium, manifested by constrictive physiology post-pericardiocentesis.
Recent findings: We summarize herein the recent observations regarding the prevalence of ECP based on echocardiography as well as the pre- and post-pericardiocentesis echo-Doppler features of ECP. ECP diagnosed by echocardiography was seen in approximately 15% of patients with ECP pre- and post-pericardiocentesis echo-Doppler findings sharing features with both cardiac tamponade and constrictive pericarditis. ECP post-pericardiocentesis is common but its natural history in the current era might be better than previously reported. Further studies and (particularly simultaneous echocardiography-cardiac catheterization) are still critically needed to better understand the underlying hemodynamics of ECP. Moreover, it remains to be determined whether pre- and post-pericardiocentesis echo-Doppler findings can be used to prognosticate or to guide therapy of those undergoing pericardiocentesis.
Keywords: Cardiac tamponade; Constrictive pericarditis; Doppler echocardiography; Effusive-constrictive pericarditis.